Poetry and Prose from the Center for Writers
Home | About Us | Staff | Center for Writers | English Department | Southern Miss
by S.L. WOODS
She sits and waits. On the front porch of the quaint beige house, she sits barefoot with her scraped elbows pressed to her scraped knees and her tiny face propped up on her small, doll-like hands. She sits and stares out into the yard through her sparkling brown eyes a lock of her hair gently blowing in the slow, warm wind and caressing her cheek. On this humid, spring Mississippi day, she sits on the steps of her front porch and stares ponderingly out into the front yard where the midday sun beats down on the plush green plants newly blossomed. From there she can see the road that leads into town. In the kitchen, she can hear the banging and clashing of pots as her mother cleans up from breakfast and prepares lunch. Except for the slow, occasional breeze, time seems to stand still. No cars pass on the road; no birds chirp and sing their lullabies as they flutter about the yard and surrounding trees; the ants have even taken the day off from their busy work of building and pillaging for food. The girl’s mother calls to her that lunch is almost done but the little girl does not notice.
As she sits and stares out into the yard out into the world thoughts and questions buzz about her mind like a hive of bees hard at work. She looks at the road and wonders how far it goes before it ends. She thinks about all of the people who have ever traveled that road. Where are they now? Where were they going? Where did they come from? She looks at the trees and underbrush on the opposite side of the road and wonders about what is on the other side of that patch of trees. She looks at the flowers and all the lustrous green that fill the yard and she thinks about God. She thinks to herself how magnificent such a being must be to have created such beauty. She looks to the sky and wonders where the stars end and the heavens begin. She thinks about the future and about the past. She wonders if she will ever cross that patch of trees on the other side of the road and if she will ever travel that road that stretches in front of her house for as far as the eye can see. She wonders where the road will take her. Who and what will she find when she gets there and what will she do? As the slow breeze grazes her face, she wonders how many more faces has that breeze touched.
Down that long, winding road, a father and mother bring home their new baby snuggled in soft, pink blanket eyes closed and wrinkled nose. Farther down that same road, there lies the carcass of a dog decaying in the blazing sun as buzzards circle overhead inspecting their meal. Somewhere else along that road, a turtle is crossing slowly but surely and a car is speeding off to some unknown destination. All the while, the little girl in her yellow dress and pigtails sits on the steps of the front porch of her house and stares into her front yard. Through her porcelain eyes, she stares past the realm of living and into the realm of existence. While all the world around her stands still, she travels through her eyes and into her mind for miles and miles. She cannot find the answers to her questions. Nevertheless, she will look and she will ask. Her mother calls her inside for lunch, and she puts off her journey for another time leaving the mysteries of the world to be solved at another time and a later day.
S.L. Woods is a native of McComb, MS and the youngest daughter of the late Claude Woods, Sr., and Johnnie Woods. Having completed her bachelor’s degree at USM in the spring of 2011, she is currently a graduate student at USM. When not spending time with friends and family, she enjoys reading and writing fiction.