“Tabula Rasa” by Leslie Neustadt

I long for the perfect journal—alabaster pages
with an opalescent glaze. Her virginal terrain, an invitation.
Fine lines that keep my wilderness at bay.

I judge her by her cover—a quiet beauty
that doesn’t demand perfection.
Just the right heft—A spine that holds her
together but doesn’t bind too tight.

Each journal is a promise of possibility, a prayer
for illumination. I begin the first page with neat print
cultivated by decades of following dotted lines.
Soon my writing dissembles.

Once I have tattooed her like a slattern,
I abandon her, seduced by the promise
of another unsullied page.

Leslie Neustadt is a retired New York Assistant Attorney General, poet, visual artist, and the author of Bearing Fruit: A Poetic Journey. A board member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, Leslie’s work is illuminated by her Jewish upbringing and inspired by the beauty and power of the natural world, mortal joys and struggles, and an unwavering commitment to human and civil rights. Online at www.LeslieNeustadt.com.

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