Amber stretches upwards to find the daylight. She avoids being pulled over by the underworld. Pixels of grey and brown fight each other on the muddy forest floor. Like wild dogs, they claw and thrash, attempting to rise.
Amber pulls her yellow body away, her goal is to find the sun, top-up and rejuvenate. She wants saving from ageless darkness.
Ghoul’s slither and grasp, make attempts to attach to old tree-stumps and cords of withered vine.
A lady dressed in a white cloak rode in on a blood-red horse. Amber waits, she wants them to pass. Suddenly the ground begins to roll beneath her.
Slipping and clawing to hold on, Amber begins to slide out, away.
The white-cloaked woman gets off her horse, drops the reins, and begins to step towards Amber.
The blood-red horse looks away.
As if in a dream, Amber sees what has not yet happened. She is now being revived by a giant woodcutter. He holds her tenderly in his arms. She is crying. Her arm hurts.
It is bleeding and he pushes his finger on the gash. He soothes her with rolling words, they echo like more sounds. She calls out aloud, deep shouts to her Angels to come to her, to aid her. Nearby stands a neo-gothic stone church. Smoke filters out the door.
She is exhausted and scorched. She remembers Icarus. He could have felt this way after flying too close to the sun, she wonders aloud if Icarus had felt that way. Did he call to his Angels to come to him? Did the Angels revive him?
The woodcutter gave Amber a drink from his bottle. She rested into his chest and fell into a deep sleep.
When she wakes up, she is living in an Ed Hopper painting. She is in a café. Long shadows are casting shapes across the floor. She watches two girls sitting at a table, chatting. She wishes she could go to them and chat too. She would love to join them. One has her coat hung up on a peg above her on the wall. The other girl is wearing a university scarf. She is smoking a cigarette; she blows the smoke in circles. Both are deep in conversation with each other. A couple, perhaps? They are enough in themselves, it appears.
Amber watches another couple nearby. Middle-aged and with less to say. They move their cups around, carefully. Twisting a cup by the handle, round and around. The woman is attempting to read the tea leaves. Amber decides to leave. She pulls the door shut as she exits the Chop Suey café.
She then decides to go somewhere to sleep. To-morrow perhaps , she will seek out Rawdi, climb into his “Creation” painting. A space to hold her and support her.
There might be more than sun-bathing and calm action living in the desert city. Geometric conversations with Amber’s cousins, if she could find them. Rambling through the city and seeking a new keyhole. One to fit the key she now holds.
This reminds her to check the cord around her neck. Placing her hand upon the key gives her reassurance. She taps it three times and pushes it inside her sweater. It is time to sleep. She gives in and lies out straight.
This story was also inspired by The Creation, by Abdulhalim Radwi (Saudi Arabia) contemporary
Margaret Kiernan has a background in professional advocacy. She writes and publishes poetry and short stories. Credits include The Blue Nib, The Galway Review, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Country Life, and more. She is listed in The Index of Contemporary Women Poets in Ireland, 2020. Margaret has four grown up children. She lives with her dog, Molly. She paints landscapes and still-life.
The Ekphrastic Review
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