This is a poem I formulated from a stream of words I left white when writing blackout poetry. I took the incoherent list of words and phrases and turned them into this poem. They came from the mind of Virginia Woolf, so I owe her a nod of acknowledgment for inspiring me.

The woman in this poem is torn between what could be and what is. She is too old to start over, yet she is too young to stay. I have left the problem she is conflicted over ambiguous for a reason. I like to give the reader the framework they need to make something of the poem. I think that makes the experience more personal and therefore more impactful.

On another note, I must thank the bin of books in the Writing House at Interlochen Arts Camp and Virginia Woolf's publishing company for making the cover of her book enticing so that when I judged all of the books by their cover, her's was the one that made a lasting impression. I also must thank my post-camp bored brain for sifting through things I had written and stopping when I got to the torn-out page. I would like to thank it for thinking, "Huh, these words, if woven together, could be so much more." And then, of course, I owe a Virginia Woolf's brain a shout out for thinking up those words and her hand for writing them down on a piece of paper and her editor for not cutting them.

And lastly, I would like to thank the words individually for speaking to me. I could have crossed out any of them and left others blank, but for some reason, they needed to remain untouched.


Here another blushes

(exquisite, imaginable)

Spirit of age blowing

Upon her cheeks

Age blew

Before the husband

Excuse her sex

(in dispute)

The irregular life

(she imagines)

Has been lived before

The color could be

Resumed


The spirit of age

Lay dormant

Then the bosom

(locket: relic of affection)

Sea-stained

Blood-stained

Travel-stained

Leaving a muddled, demented bosom


Oh, manuscript tree

So many years

Her hazardous pages

(stained)

Writing margins

Cross the lines

Her manuscript

(a piece of darning)


Turn back

First page

Read

(written for three hundred years)

Time to end

She began…