The Woman: A Witness

The woman wakes to the pressing weight of the world. Her square sunken room is washed up in boxes to pack, trinkets memories to stuff into the throats of silences. Freedom is a sack of wet feathers, her sternum is cold, and the heat of the wrong season. Outside, a car oinks, rushing, at the cafe she sucks a bright sip of coffee, loud shouts, motorcycle oils. Wriggling slivers of sunshine dazzle in the cafe window, importing squares of sunlight on the table, one sun diamond unrolls against the baritone of her hand. A pretty wind slaps a candy wrapper against the windowpane. The man’s question is dipping: to go to Jerusalem? To leave the the freeways dizzy? The ocean to slap like a great theme upon the sand aglitter? She sits down her cup. Emptily. Beaches writhe in her ribcage. Nightclubs coo inside her stomach. Easy to say yes then to consider it. Gathering the strung out armors of the man’s question, her heart is a shoal licked in trash, outside, the sand-clapped wind slows to a somber strut. A drunk man enters the café, he is hollering, he is squeezing a dead seagull by its wet blue throat. The ocean steps in discreetly. It’s 10 am a faceless patron says quietly out loud.



Vanessa Saunders is the editor-in-chief of Helium Journal. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she is currently an MFA candidate at LSU. She has previously been published in Stockholm Literary Review, Lighthouse journal, Haight Ashbury Literary, and others.