The Faded Woman

Martha was a ghost of a woman. She disappeared into her surroundings, blending in as if she were no more than a sheet of wallpaper, sporting bras, hose, and socks, pasted behind the pegs of merchandise she stocked. Like a chameleon, her form merged with her environment.

Day after day, her soft, pasty body trudged up and down the lingerie aisles of the superstore, pushing a shopping cart bristling with a flashy array of leopard-print panties, bright red teddies, and other exotic intimate apparel; but unlike the garments she put out for sale, Martha was anything but colorful.

Thin, straight hair the shade of week-old coffee hung dull and lifeless to her shoulders. Stringy tendrils obscured her downturned face. Pale and rounded and malleable, she was kneaded dough, punched down and waiting for a rise that never happened. When she spoke to a customer—and she only did that when forced to—Martha’s eyes stayed on the wood-laminated floor. Even her “May I help you?” and “Have a nice day.” were smothered things spoken barely above a whisper on good days, and on bad days, a tired, almost-inaudible sigh of sound.

And there were plenty of bad days, days when her head felt as if it were a ball of unmitigated pain that had been created for no other purpose than to punisher her because she wasn’t a good enough daughter, a good enough wife, but most of all, a good enough mother. Martha endured the frequent migraines without complaint, a firm believer that her suffering was atonement for past mistakes, and when God thought she had paid enough, the attacks would cease. And though she told none of her coworkers when she was in the throes of a migraine, a glimpse of her features told the tale—red-rimmed eyes sunk into dark hollows on an otherwise skim milk face.

But regardless of how she felt, Martha plodded through the days, doing her job and doing it well so that at the end of the week she could collect her meager paycheck. Not for herself, but for her two grown daughters and their children. She was determined that her daughters would never do without as she had. Yes, she would always be there for them, paying their rent, buying their groceries, providing whatever their respective husbands didn’t for as long as she had a breath left in her body.

Martha’s children and grandchildren were her life. Only in their presence did her eyes sparkle, her lips curve in a smile, her round shoulders square. Other employees took note of Martha’s transformation when her daughters came into the store; it was like seeing her for the first time. One worker said, “You know, I never realized it before, but Martha’s kind of pretty.” And another remarked on the lovely green shade of her eyes.

Then her family would leave, and Martha would fade away once more, becoming as translucent as the pantyhose tucked inside the packages she placed neatly on shelves. A see-through woman. Barely there at all.

©️2019 KT Workman

Photo via Pixabay

Little Girls and Old Ladies

Taught to honor and obey
Little girls can’t find their way
Lips zipped against food and speech
Gotta stay skinny, gotta stay meek
Or lasting love won’t come their way
Submerging self, the price they pay
Striving to be who he wants her to be
She loses her and becomes his she

Put Prince Charming on lofty pedestal
Feed the ego of immature male
Make him feel like a mighty king
No matter the fact you’ll never be queen
For him, queens are the porn-star pack
Perfect dolls all waxed, maxed, and stacked
Standing by, always ready, willing, and able
Not real women…just juvenile fables

Poor little girls become old women
Before they realize there is no winning
For the enlightened, this epiphany brings joy
No more worries about pleasing a boy
Just march to the beat of your own crazy drummer
Pick white daisies in your own field of summer
Dance in the rain while the devil beats his wife
And lest it be you, carry a big suspicious knife

©️2019 KT Workman

Photo via Pixabay

Anymore

She doesn’t live here anymore
In this dark, empty place of
Broken-promise windows,
And doors half-shut
On tomorrow’s faded dreams
That hold no future.

Jaded termites feast on
Sad, mistrustful walls.
Wormwood floorboards sag
Under pretentious pulpy lies,
While the patched and parched roof
Is slowly caving in on it all.

The only thing yet
Standing proud and tall
Is the rusty chainlink fence.
A survivor of countless wars,
It girdles the old, forgotten house,
Keeping the monsters at bay.

Though…
She doesn’t live here anymore.

©️2019 KT Workman

Photo via Pixabay

Wings

the wings are still there
propped in a dark corner
of a forgotten room
since childhood

tattered and moth-eaten
dull gray with dust
feathers drooping
beneath Time’s weight

they whisper of a dream
where anything is possible
where I can fly
if only I believe

and possess a child’s courage
to strap on gossamer wings
constructed of faith and innocence
and leap blindly into space

© 2019  KT Workman

 

Roads

a child knows nothing
about the consequences
of the many roads
she will walk in life
until the end
when the last road is chosen
and for better or worse
she arrives at her destination

no more roads left to walk
she then ponders
those fearlessly taken
the ones passed by, unexplored
the hurtful ones
paved with nails and glass
and she realizes that long ago
she lost her way

too late now
she knows, too many times
she picked the wrong roads
always in a hurry
she veered left on a whim
right on a wish
and she has only herself to blame
for this damned dead end

©2019 KT Workman