I was born in the desert. I didn't understand this until my family moved to an island in the Pacific. And then I began to understand that I knew nothing.

An urgent need for words. When I opened a book there they were: dead and living. Friends, correspondents, agitators. Brilliant constellating words.

At some point I realized I was a woman. Words were there, like paint. 

At some point history bloomed and bloomed and devastated me. Love was there, like paint. 

(Permission given to replace "words" in this statement with "love.")


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Elaine Bleakney is a poet and author of For Another Writing Back, an “avant-memoir” in lyric prose (Sidebrow, 2014), and 20 Paintings by Laura Owens, an ekphrastic conversation (Poor Claudia, 2013)

New poems are forthcoming in Harp & Altar and The Index. Poems have previously appeared in American Poetry Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Verse Dailyand elsewhere. Her lyrical prose essays have been published in The Believer LoggerLiterary Hub, and the Kenyon Review.

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