Nun's Thighs {for Francesca Woodman}



Nun’s Thighs

for Francesca Woodman




She finds herself behind the hedgerow,


in the shadow of this house she still haunts as a child.


I find her there too.


She spits towards a crow high up in the copse—

says, look at Bruegel’s magpie on the gallows.


She is naked without her camera.

Her frame shivers and blurs

until she stills herself into focus.


A wild belt of heat unbuckles

the threshold where sun

and shade meet.


A blister, a bustle,

a hiss and a sigh.


She misses the merge—

the idea, not me.


*   *   *   *   *   *  


I remember the time

she laid her body down

on the hardwood floor

of that leaning flat

in the sleepless city.


Boards paled by spilled flour.


Wearing nothing but her skin

as she rose slowly—

an awkward angel-daughter,

whose wings just wouldn’t unfold.


She shrieked sharply at the shape

of the dark twin she left behind,

then laughed and skinned the wall again.

Later…outside…up on the roof…


she spoke of fragile interiors

and their careless carriers—


said to me,

wear your skin inside out,

like I do.


Told me to:

think of the edge

as an ocean’s lip.


Whispered, it’s all in the letting go.


Screamed, it’s all in the letting go!


The very thought made my blood leap.


She said, get in.


*   *   *   *   *   *


Now, she wears a summer dress

printed with plants to

match the surrounding landscape.


She nibbles on a succulent plum

and speaks in dangling Italian

as she returns to her habit.


I look at her,

she denies me her face.

Shakes sunlight from her hair

cascading down over her eyes—


a blind familiar



—suspended in the moment,

sweeter than any wild summer plum,

she loses herself beneath the falls.



Will Crawford



Will Crawford is the author of Amber Waves (Hare of the God Books), Actual Tigers (Edgar & Lenore's Publishing House), and Fire in the Marrow (NeoPoiesis Press). His stories and poems have appeared globally in magazines, journals and book anthologies such as, The Criterion, Poetic Diversity L.A., and Ted Ate America. His work has been nominated multiple times for awards and prizes including the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, People’s Book Prize (U.K.), and The Pushcart Prize. He is currently working on a screenplay about body dysmorphia tentatively titled, Mirrornaut. Will abides in Philadelphia, PA with his wife Kimberly and their menagerie. Will's passions include: animal rights, music, films, cooking, and esoteric arts. He enjoys the way dreams lack conclusion.  Direct Buy Link -- Amber Waves


  1. classy and sassy. if only more work such as this existed in a society with little imagination and too much HBO.

  2. Mesmerizing! Sensual! Wish I could have written this. Lines like:

    "... think of the edge
    like the ocean's lip...."

    Light and motion and "blind familiar" all over this.

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