Angela Ramos is the proud matriarch of a supremely modern family based in Madison, WI. She penned her first story, “Wally the Worm,” at age four and has been smitten with words ever since. Her work has appeared in The Main Street Rag, Paper Darts, and Fearsome Critters.
and there are bodies under there.
it reaches me.
reaches with a sleepy, yellow yawn.
too warm and awake.
When I Preserved the Past in a Jar but Failed to Seal with Paraffin
The Cost of a Good Woman
Lola spends forty dollars to get her nails done.
She sells jars of blue gloop on the internet for money.
Cassandra borrowed tuition from her grandparents
and never considered the debt repaid. We’d sling
eggs and espresso for tips, sisters in service, sustained
by the sly and the clever in our shared smiles.
Gina and Sarah turned their mama’s money
into powder that smeared red across the back
of my headrest while we drove aimlessly around town,
stopping only for burritos and menthol cigarettes, relics
wrapped in wax paper and cellophane.
Chelsea squirted her paycheck between her toes.
Wendy waited tables and pocketed every fifth check,
as though because of their place in the sequence of time
they bore some special weight that could not be felt in the till.
My aunties sold snatch, quick melancholy fucks for scratch,
for a leaky roof, a hand-me-down couch, for food stamps.
Once a man offered me twenty bucks to get in his car.
If you ain’t lookin’ for no ride then what you doin’ walkin’ alone?
Sometimes my boyfriend’s buddy would grope me for free.
The Pale Yellow Bastard from Eden proved his worth,
lithium craters gaping and wounded dog eyes weeping.
Marie worked in housekeeping and accused me of stealing,
though she washed her hair with hotel soap and wrapped it,
frizzled, split, and thinning, in starchy blank hotel towels.
Mama traded three Easter bunnies dressed in gold and cream
for the security of a lawn dotted with squash-colored
garden boxes, all filled with bagged soil, heirlooms
and beefsteaks rotting gently against the trellis; seeds
like so much caviar, smeared and baking on the splinters.
Home moved and found new architecture in me, built of
found objects fashioned first into dolls and animal sculptures,
then into a stack atop my woman’s heart, the hungry furnace,
log cabin and teepee structures divinely crafted to contain,
to keep my daughter warm; I am a foundation of fire,
a pool of melted glass and wax at my feet.