Ink on Paper

words read in Japan

centuries past in Spring

fill the room with song


NaPoWriMo prompt to write concerning a piece of art from the collection of the NY Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Two Women Reclining on the Floor of a Room and Reading a Book, ca 1730, monochrome woodblock print, ink on paper, Nishikawa Sukenobu

Ink on Paper


Small stack of books not yet read. Their titles draw me in.

Virgil, the poet who died of a fever; poet to emperors and Rome. 

His poetry of the land, Georgics. Kenneth Rexroth translations

of Japanese poetry, one hundred of them. The Grandview Hotel 

poets from Peoria, Illinois, write together about the weather, 

changing of seasons, bluffs and bridges. My friend hands me another 

for the stack. She knows my heart. “You can borrow this if you take 

really good care, no coffee stains.” It is the Peoria writers’ work in 

letterpress, fine paper, portfolioed, each piece a work of art.

I am afraid to open it. A delicate thread creates a closure on the front.

It is the opening. Are my hands clean enough? I ask myself.  

I imagine myself enmeshed in reading each line, those words 

embedded into the paper, an art of poetry. A drop of blood falls

from my nose and I am horrified. How can this happen? How 

can I tell my friend that a spot of blood is there. I could hide it, 

hope she never goes back to the page where the stain was spilled.

I could remove the blighted piece and hope she does not miss it.

My remorse that I could not write this, could not design this, could

not print this. My drop of blood the revealer of my lust and

inadequacy. I bleed for more than what I am.