Ana Maria Ventura
At the corner of Black Olive and Pearson, a lodge hides in the mass of green branches that drip, drip, drip onto the brownish-black roof. A small clustering of trailers parked together, siding that hangs at strange angles, this is Aloha Lodge. Broken, ever-vacant, except for number four, the second-to-last door of those that open into the could-be portable motel. Nine years ago a woman stopped at the lodge on a whim, tired and wet from winter rain. Something was right about that trailer, the crooked trellis void of vines on the left-hand side of the loose screen door, the crunchy gravel drive that hurt good in thin flip-flops. So she stayed, rusting chrome bike under the rusted aluminum carport.
But today an ambulance is parked in the driveway outside number four. The paramedics trudge, slow, and their black, rubber-soled shoes drag the corpses of lip-tinted Basics, crushed out in the green cut-glass ashtray, half-smoked, into the gravel. Fiberglass and cotton dampen in downpour, one tuft loosens from its spotted brown wrapper, floats down the gutter.
Ana Maria Ventura is pursuing a masters degree in creative writing at San Francisco State University, and has been published in Instant City, Lake Street Lit, and Catharsis magazines. She was recently selected to participate in Go, San Francisco's only revolving monthly collaborative art event series.