March 28, 1941, Somewhere near the River Ouse, North Yorkshire


Ann Pedone








In mid-April of 1932 Virginia Woolf traveled to Greece. It was her second visit. Leonard Woolf husband Roger Fry and Margery Fry sister in law accompanied her. Virginia wrote extensively about the trip in her diary. In the late 1950s an editor mis-read her handwriting and made Virginia call Roger Fry “infinitely serious” when in fact she had written that he was “infinitely porous.” Sponges wood rubber and rocks are porous. Marble glass and plastics are not.  Wood linen unglazed ceramic burnt clay and pottery are porous. So are bones, bread, and concrete. Granite bricks and teacups are non porous. So are metal gold brass polished stainless steel Bakelite and diamonds. Virginia never owned a diamond ring. She and Leonard exchanged wedding rings, but they were simple gold bands. Less than a year after having gotten married she accidently baked hers in a suet pudding. Over the remaining years of their marriage she never asked Leonard for another ring.





St. Pancras



The first time Leonard Woolf ever saw Virginia she was wearing a wide-brimmed hat and carrying a parasol. Her dress was white and made of a voluminous amount of lace. Dresses such as this have long since gone out of fashion. When Leonard proposed, Virginia told him that she needed some time to think about it. Leonard agreed and they were married a year later. In a letter she wrote shortly before her marriage she told him that on the few occasions when he had kissed her that she felt no more than a rock. Rocks are porous. Water flows easily through them.  If you were to try to block the flow of a river by building a dam of rocks, the water would flow straight through them. It is believed by many that the marriage of Leonard and Virginia was never consummated.





The Foreshore



I’m not ready to spill my secrets. Much less to empty my pockets of these rocks. Did I pick them up here, at the shoreline, or were they already in my coat when I arrived. Buses and trains and the Cromwell station. Slips of paper still in my hand. I wore the wrong shoes. Not that they don’t go with this dress. But they are somehow still wrong. These stones. I can feel them rub up against each other. Like lovers. Imagine. Rocks fucking in my pockets. I’ll take one out and leave it here. Bury it in the sand. This is what women do. We gather stones and bury them for others to find.  The soil here is soft though.  Will surely give way as the tide comes closer and the rock will be washed from its shallow grave. It is as I’ve always suspected.  That the very ground under a woman’s feet has never been strong enough to hold her in one place for very long.









Ann Pedone graduated from Bard College and has a Master’s degree in Chinese from UC Berkeley.  She is the author of the chapbook, The Bird Happened.  Her work has recently appeared in Riggwelter, Main Street Rag, Poet head, Cathexis Northwest, The Wax Paper and The Phare, among others.



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