In the gaze of the other

"My mistress' eyes are nothing…"

For Emma

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Is it true what they say about you, Emma?

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They betrayed you, didn’t they? Everyone marching you down the line from birth to death used you even as they propped you up, the precious rag doll with the delicate fine porcelain mask you were. Your feckless foe and charms–your beauty and your sex–betrayed you. How could you know?

I could imagine your life that way, narrate it so. Or I could finger-trace the lines of the stolen silken bodily moments with your lover–impassioned with danger and secrecy, danger of the war with impending loss of your lover and the father of your child, as well as the secrecy of your affair. Your story.  Who were they to take your lover, your secrets, your letters and your world with so little regard, to throw you in a prison of injustice and debt? The iron of your manacles was brutal in hypocritical cold, the jailers murderously callous. They took your love, money and life. I hate them.

I dreamed your dream once, was your dream, a sister from ecstatic vision and prescient sight, warming your mind like the lynx enwrapping your belly. The sweetness of half-lit rooms and pleasant chaise-lounge velvet bethroned bodies bathed in halogen bulbs of passionate witness. Give me your seed. Implant your vision of Veronese wood tables engraved with curled tresses that beckon our baby’s bonneted hair and make my cells crave yours in hours of the early morning upon awakening from suffering sleep. I ache. Take me with you. I will dust off your prison hurt and make your beauty mesmerize love again.

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