pen tip Blank Page
Aline Soules

A woman watches words form on a blank page, but they don’t make sense to her and she wants to write something on the page herself, so she erases them. But the faster she erases them, the faster they form, filling more and more of her page. She crumples the page in her fist, tosses it aside, and gets a new piece of paper. The same thing happens again.

In fury, she presses so hard with her eraser that she tears a hole in the page. She gets new papers, one after another. She tries writing over the words that are forming—in India ink, in magic marker, even in blood from her own finger. Her words disappear into the scrawl of the unknown hand.

She digs at the words as she digs through the soil in her garden. She pushes them aside with her fingers, getting letters and fragments of letters under her fingernails. The words gather in the cracks in her hands, creep into the pores of her skin.

The words grow so thick on the page that she has to reach through them until she finds the paper again. Before the words can crawl up her arms like ants, she tears the page open. There’s a light on the other side. She crawls into the opening, her whole body covered with words that chase after her, but as she pulls her body through, the words slough off and she is naked on the inside of the page.

She turns to face the other side of the page. It is blank. She lifts her finger to write from the inside out.