Francesca Woodman

The way you hold out your arms like a puppeteer

in an empty room like you’re still in motion, as though

you’re dancing with someone not there.


Who are you? In a world leaked of colour, your

black and white exposures show off your beauty,

and the curious tired dream where things just happen.



It is late and I find myself staring, and you stare back

as if I’m naked too. Young eyes full of life, cat-like – body

bends and contorts to unusual shapes. You crouch in the

corner and look at me, but I never really existed

did I.


I can’t see your eyes in this picture, you look off to one side,

the nakedness of your bare neck, the cords of your neckline delicate,

a thin necklace above your breasts.

And I had forgotten how to read music

nothing out of place, nor the paper in your palm, like a bird.


Long-exposed, obscure faces blurred: beautiful,

but the more I look, I don’t know who you are.

In 1981 you jumped out of a window on the East Side of New York

where you died, ‘guard had been let down.’


© Michael Holloway