Jordan Okumura and Rebecca Woolston
Monday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 PM
SPC at 1719 25th Street
Host: Tim Kahl
Jordan Okumura currently lives in Sacramento, California and writes for two trade news publications in the produce industry, The Snack Magazine and AndNowUKnow, in order to support her creative writing habit. She is a graduate of California State University, Sacramento where she earned her B.A. in English and M.A. in Creative Writing under the guidance of amazing writers that include Doug Rice and Peter Grandbois. Jordan has been published in journals that include Gargoyle, DIRTY:DIRTY by Jaded Ibis Press, Black Rabbit, First Stop Fiction, and CCM-Entropy’s Enclave – an online central space for contributors representing different literary communities, corners, and aesthetics.
There is a promise of trees, a wet child running through fire, his feet fixed like roots to the stage of her palm. There is a dream there, a fissure worth remembering, a petal that presses the way memories do, toward the surface.
Bend, Oregon. 1994.
The river running slow, her wrists learning how to fly. She sits like a fractured harp creating this story that is an echo, a last offering, a compass rose.
A trick of light, his brown hands covered in charcoal and fish scales. His hands covered with love. Bodies come slowly here to sleep, where they are lost inside their love of waist-high light, the trap door of an ankle, the myth that lies at the rim of her skirt. He can almost smell her ruin before it arrives.
Her overripe star collapsing under and weathervane. The little girl, with stories buried in the root of a ghost, in the thick vein of a knotted fist, in the flower open and bowing.
The little girl, remembers.
She escapes through soot, through the cocoon of a tangled house. This
story is a snare.
The child is on fire. The girl burns still.
Rebecca Woolston was named a semi-finalist in Gazing Grain’s 2015 Prose/Hybrid contest. She has also appeared online at enclave.entropymag.org, in Red Light Lit Volume 5, From Sac: Home, Myths, and Other Untruths, has written for The California Journal of Women Writers and read for Hollow Earth Radio in Seattle and at LitQuake 2013. She was Managing Editor for 580 Split, Issue 17 and received her MFA from Mills College. She currently teaches at CSU Sacramento.
Nina convinced Eleanor to go on a walk, they had to leave the room, the dark spaces that were crowding in from the corners. As they moved down the street, Nina tried getting Eleanor to speak, avoided the subject, moved closer to it. Nothing until, in front of a neighbor’s garden full of lilies and iris’, Eleanor asked, “What do I do now?” Nina was mid stride. She kept her eyes focused on a leaf dangling from an oak tree before she stopped, turned to Eleanor and answered, “I don’t know. Go on living I suppose.”
The silence rooted itself in disappointment. Hadn’t her mother gone through all the stages of being a woman she had? Hadn’t Nina’s body experienced the same growths and ruptures that Eleanor would? Isn’t that what parents were for? To help lessen the blows of life because they could say, “I’ve been there too, you’ll be okay.” Losing a child was one of the few experiences Nina hadn’t endured before her daughter. Death was not new to Nina, her parents had passed years ago, her husband was gone. Each of those losses excavated a space inside Nina’s body, along different sinews and muscle fibers holding her together. Each time, she found out one death does not prepare you for the next one. Death is death, but it is never the same and the holes that gape inside your flesh and your bones become sporadic. There are days when you might look at yourself in the mirror and find a new wound and wonder how you could never have known that person used to live also inside your femur, but you always felt them somewhere near your ribs. The disappearance of someone, suddenly, from your life burrows quickly at first, but then slows down so daily life can resume and the absence begins to go unnoticed in the routine, until without warning, the excavation hits a nerve you thought was numb and there you are, in front of the mirror, full of holes.
Nina could only say to her daughter, after all of this, “I’m here. You have to go on.”