The Ugly Woman by Marci Ameluxen

The Ugly Woman

My camera is out and I ask if I can take her picture, the old woman in an orange dress carrying a large metal can of cooking oil on her head. “Soy fea” she says, I am ugly. But the can is heavy and because like all women she is not ugly at all but beautiful, two angels who are walking along the beach stroll up to her and take the can from her head. The angels ask the woman where she is going, and between them they carry the can, following her. No one is astonished, really, to see angels at the beach. They like to watch the waves as much as anyone. In a culture of incense and conjuring, angels are quite commonplace. Some are summoned by flutes played in villages, others arrive to bring luck in the middle of dice games. Robe colors are varied and fashionable. But the majority of angels hover around women, whose needs are great. Children, goats, buckets of water and vegetable gardens, early in the morning and all day long women require the angels’ help. Angels do what they can. Sometimes, you won’t know when an angel is around. A child holding a rag doll. A man pulling a hoe through potato mounds. That woman, kneeling in the mud, looking for a curved, lost bone.

by Marci Ameluxen

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Editor’s Note: Prose poems can be very tricky because they’ve lost one of the things that help make a poem work properly—line breaks. Within that constraint, this poem beautifully combines allegory and narrative with first person point of view. By the end of the poem, the reader is invested in the story.

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