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Francesca Leader – Lost Words: Work

Francesca Leader – Lost Words

You are re-writing Sappho,

and the entire library of Alexandria,

on the thinnest paper

history has ever seen,

recycled, read and un-read, written and forgotten.

Bone and papyrus and carbon and silk;

Your page is the gray of God’s mind,

both palimpsest and pentimento.

You are re-writing Sappho,

ten thousand lines

capturing life and love, hate and death,

in a heart-deep tongue

infinitely older than ancient Greek.

No one can say anything never said before,

nor write anything never written,

so your words are Sappho’s words

as much as they are yours, or mine, or anyone’s.

You are writing on what was, long ago, Sappho’s skin;

you are drawing the poems, upon her and from her,

with a cursor-shaped needle, keystroke by stitch.

And if you love her, you will not grieve,

for grief stops us,

and if you love her, you will not stop

until all, all the lost voices

and all the lost words

rise from the earth.

Francesca Leader – Lost Words: Work

Francesca Leader is a self-taught, Pushcart-nominated writer originally from Western Montana. She has poetry published or forthcoming in the Sho Poetry Journal, Frost Meadow Review, Harpy Hybrid Review, Pluvia Litmag, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, the Stoneboat Literary Journal, and elsewhere. Her translation of an ancient Japanese poem won the Society of Classical Poets’ 2021 Poetry Translation Competition. Find her on IG and Twitter:

Francesca Leader – Lost Words: Work

Artwork: Seek by Helen Gwyn Jones

Helen Gwyn Jones (she/her) started recording her world at the age of 8 when she bought a Brownie camera from her sister, something which has become a lifelong passion. A collector of the past (hers and other people’s) she likes nothing better than muted images of imperfection.  May be found poring over Welsh grammar books when not photographing drains or going into raptures over rust.  Recent publications include Hungry Ghost Project, Free Flash Fiction, Acropolis Journal, Paddler Press, Blink-Ink, Hecate, Pareidolia, Moss Puppy, The Levatio, Camas, Subliminal, Terse. Instagram / Twitter:  @helengwynjones Facebook: Helen Gwyn Jones Photographic Artist

Francesca Leader – Lost Words: Work
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