In this prose poem inspired by the writer Mary Ruefle, Frances Emilia slips between nostalgia and presence as she reflects on womanhood and lust.
It is the tomato smashed upon the road; litter
in the minivan; the sun glaring past the cattails;
tumbling into eighteen, in cheeks that glitter,
when the brief seconds of staring wash the
daylight into dark. It is gold hair strands, like
rope on the drive, whipping out the window. If
the world lost its glamour, was deprived of
my fascination––lust––and choked into burdens
of mysterious, disastrous alchemy possessing
yearning teenagers, then I could pardon my
actualized self; for the witchcraft of being alive.
I don’t pay mind to the dryness of my tongue,
under pretenses that I must be sorrowful, even
when the music stops suddenly, screws in my
ears, and then restarts. It is my rough knuckles,
coarse with regrowing hair, but it does not take
grip on me. It is letting go in my fingers and
hangnails, forgetting the mortality of it all, in
the moment of twilight and sexual fantasy. My
routine exorcisms of hormones, of loud spells
singing along to eighties pop, loosens upon my
foot touching the gas pedal. Heaven feels close,
twirling my tongue slowly, for once I turn the key
in my car, my body surfs. I become a woman
of ancestral orgasms, eyes locked on the road;
the headlights and the brainstorming on which
thoughts to categorize first, over sex or how
the wisps at my sideburns sit. It is simple magic,
being a young woman, in virginity that bends
and beats for touch, the same as I.
About the author: Frances Emilia is a writer from Chicago, IL, and a former student of Columbia College Chicago graduating with a BA in Interdisciplinary Creative Writing (poetry) and Fine Art. She is the author of Eclipsing the Blue Violets with a second book on its way. Emilia’s writing dissects the many facets of womanhood, sexuality and the impulses of being human. Her work has been featured by The Luna Collective and Elastic Arts.
About the illustrator: Damiane Nickles (he/him) is a painter and illustrator working out of Chicago. He holds a B.F.A. in Illustration from Syracuse University and completed his first solo exhibition in June 2022. When’s he’s not creating artwork he’s diving into spirits as a Brand Manager over at Apologue Liqueurs.