This is my first ever attempt at prose poetry, it’s supposed to be a vignette. Let me know how you think I did and if you have constructive feedback I would love to hear it!
The Woman with the Grease Stained Face
The owl hoots once in surprise at the low grumble in the distance, growing steadily closer. He blinks once, twice as twin eyes appear on the horizon, as though counting. This imposter does not belong here, though even now it is struggling to crest the next hill, resolving itself into a blocky silhouette with soft edges, trailed by dust and smoke. Several times now the owl has heard this sound, or something like it, but he’s never seen the source, for it has – up to now – always awakened him from his daytime slumber, and he could never be bothered to leave his hollow to investigate. Cocking his head with interest, the owl studies this intruder, this invader of the darkness. Bits of it reflect the dull moonlight, but most of it is the copper color of the dust it disturbs. He ruffles his feathers as he realizes that on closer examination, he can see inside the object through the shiny bits. Inside sits a creature, bared white teeth bright in a grease stained face, wrestling with some sort of curved object.
The woman with the grease stained face struggles to control the bouncing truck; she knows she’s going too fast for this not-quite-a-road, but she can’t help it. Almost missing the marker, she stands on the brakes, which hoot far louder than any owl before locking up and almost sending the truck and the dust and the woman with the grease stained face into a tree. She cuts off the engine, which hisses and grinds to a reluctant stop, and switches off the headlights with a click. If only the moon had an off switch. Screeching open the door, she stamps around to the back, boots crunching angrily in the loose gravel and dirt, and heaves her burden onto her back. The woman with the grease stained face disappears into the black forest.
Just when the owl thought he could hunt in peace for the rest of the night, a rustling and crunching announces the woman with the grease stained face’s approach. She swings into the cab and turns the key. The engine coughs once, twice, then only whines. A second attempt fails to produce even a chuckle. Damn. She swings back down, crunches over to the front, and slams open the hood. It reeks of way too much gasoline; the engine is flooded and drowning in its own fuel. The damn carburetor is acting up again. She shoves the float home, empties the cylinders of fuel, slams closed the hood, and tries again. Cough, cough, roar-to-life, crack! Pop! Now the damned thing is vomiting smoke out the back and backfiring, so she crunches over to the front, slams open the hood, and takes more care this time in adjusting the carb’s float. It needs some fuel, after all. Slamming the hood closed again, crunching back to the cab, she swings inside once more. The woman with the grease stained face grabs the key, then lets it go and leans her head on the wheel.
The owl sees she is shaking, and hears labored wheezing. The woman with the grease on her face curls up on the bench seat and tries not to suffocate on her own hyperventilation, as tears tear trails towards the tip of her chin, through the grease, leaving gleaming new roads almost as bright as her bared white teeth. She lays cocooned in herself like that for several hours, before finally emerging as the sky turns from black to blue. The woman with the tear stained face starts the truck easily, and pulls smoothly away, gliding gracefully up and over the hill.