Francesca Woodman

You hold out your arms as if pulling the strings
to control my gaze. In an empty room, fixed and balletic,
dancing with someone not there.

Light cast the cords of your neck leading faded shadows,
black and white exposures show off the silver of your beauty,
the curious dream, the eye, and me in another time.

I stare and you stare back as if I’m naked
in front of you. Young eyes full of life – body
bends like worming negatives, contorts in unusual feline shapes.

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