by Noelle McManus
For Francesca Woodman
A conversation with my mother about
psychiatric hospitals. About cigarette burns.
How much money are you making. Is it
enough. Do you remember when you took drugs
on the sand and thought you were an alien
and everything seemed better that way.
That never happened I say you’re imagining things.
All I did was stand on the Atlantic Beach bridge
and consider the depth of a very dark very still
sea. I don’t read. My mailbox full
of stammering letters from Virginia Woolf
and Sarah Kane: do you remember the—the
low the empty the green green water.
I remember the dirt and iron taste
the pills they gave my mother
the pills she took in the ambulance. Twenty-two
is a nothing age but 2021 is the only real year.
Nothing comes after.
Yes I can feel it. Pressing
pulling shoving god please
Francesca what did you know.
When will I learn it.
Noelle McManus is a writer-poet-linguist from New York. Their work has been featured in publications such as Vagabond City, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Women’s Review of Books, LIBER: A Feminist Review, and more. Currently, they are at work on a novel.