UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN RECOVERS STOLEN ASHES OF DARIEN EHORN, 23 YEAR OLD WOMAN WHO RODE IN THE PASSENGER SEAT OF AN SUV THAT CRASHED IN PARADISE, CALIFORNIA
Unidentified Woman is not the woman
of this story. Unidentified Woman
simply went to Paradise, brought
the dead back to life. Unidentified
Woman had a daughter, had done
this all before, had dreamt of
pomegranate trees, the cracked
fruits on the ground below giving
way to a thousand ruby-skinned
fragments left unscathed, had
dreamt of traveling the continent
and translating every echo from
here to there but she only made
it from paradise back to damned.
Unidentified Woman does not ask
why a man would steal a woman’s
ashes only to reject them, throwing
them out of his Chevy window on
Route 70, half an hour south of
Paradise, does not ask for are
reward, does not tell her daughter
it will be ok.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN ROBS 66 YEAR OLD MAN AT A BURGER KING IN THE BRONX
It’s knowing you’ll be asked
if you’d like anything else when
you need everything else
but only have a loose cigarette, a couple dollars
worth of quarters for the laundry
you’ll wash by hand instead because
even though it never turns out as soft
that way at first, a half an hour later
the day has already beaten out the
folds and warned them there’s no
coming back. Unidentified Woman
would have starched and ironed her
dress nonetheless but she knew their
documents would only say:
female, middle-aged, wearing a
black durag like an appendix.
telling you all you need to know in
the chapter that comes before.
It’s knowing you’ll be called
by an order number not a name, a
correspondence between value and
claim, its every letter a shareholder
negotiated through the tongues that
refuse to learn to speak you.
Unidentified Woman has already
told you how to pronounce her name.
Her old gold locket is gone
melted down at $135, 4 grams.
The faces of her parents, antiquated
and fading twenty years
were first scratched out with a hairpin.
In dreams she faces them shouting Mine.
How they shake with laughter,
silver fillings catching the sun.
Stephanie Kaylor is a writer from upstate New York. She holds a MA in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University at Albany and is currently finishing a MA in Philosophy at the European Graduate School. Stephanie is Reviews Editor for Glass: A Journal of Poetry and her poetry has appeared in a number of journals including BlazeVOX, The Willow Review, and altpoetics.