Voilà and Other Visual Poems

Nance Van Winckel
Do Not Open Your Mouth.
Any cry for help—as the waves pound—
will only hasten the drowning.
The heads are all gone. They watched you
watch them back. The so very gone heads.
Voilà. Time you had on your hands.
Soon enough the sun dries it.
It dries the sun. Enough soon. Your hands had time. Voilà.
With a shrug and a guess, you replace
any illegible scrawl with *shrug*, with *guess*.
A calm void of a past tense bides its time,
aloof and far below the now.
No one watching you, you turn to the last page. WTF. Missing?!
You wanted the end NOW. You got only a now but no end.

Nance Van Winckel’s memoir Sister Zero is just out with Slant Books. Her ninth poetry collection, The Many Beds of Martha Washington, appeared last year (Pacific Northwest Poetry Series). She has a book of visual poems with Pleiades Press (2016) and five books of fiction, including Ever Yrs, a novel in the form of a scrapbook (2014). The recipient of two NEA fellowships, the Washington State Book Award, a Paterson Fiction Prize, Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Award, a Christopher Isherwood Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, Nance teaches in Vermont College’s MFA Program and lives in Spokane, Washington.