Published on Academy of American Poets (

from Please Bury Me in This

Maybe my arms lifted as a woman lowers a dress over my head.

This is not what I want to tell you.

Looking at red flowers on her mother’s dress as she sat on her lap on a train is Woolf’s first memory.

Then the sound of waves behind a yellow shade, of being alive as ecstasy.

Maybe her mind, as I read, lowering over my mind.

Maybe looking down, as I sit on the floor, at the book inside the diamond of my legs.

Even briefly, to love with someone else’s mind.

Moving my lips as I read the waves breaking, one, two, one, two, and sending a splash of water over the beach.

What I want to tell you is ecstasy.


Copyright © 2013 by Allison Benis White. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 12, 2013. 

About this Poem

"In a class in graduate school, my professor said that he didn’t really see other people until he started reading—this resonated with me, and by extension, I thought, I didn’t really see myself until I started writing. This poem, which is from a book-length series called “Please Bury Me in This,” originated from reading Virginia Woolf’s Reminiscences."
—Allison Benis White


Allison Benis White

Allison Benis White is the author of Please Bury Me in This (Four Way Books, forthcoming in 2017) and Small Porcelain Head (Four Way Books, 2013).

Date Published: 2013-07-12

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