Widows and Brides

Kathy Fagan

Profesoressa Panella released a statement to the Italian press:
We have unearthed more than ten rooms, beautiful mosaic
floors and frescoed walls. Without photos, I am forced to imagine
her eyeliner, glossy as starlings, as strains of Noh
on vinyl drift over the Palatine.

Domus Augusti. Livia’s rooms. But what of these rooms,
with their smell of feet and crush of complex dresses,
live voices inside them like pockets of snow:

Will you take a picture for my mother? Imagine me
ten pounds lighter. Do you prefer the empire
waist or the sleeveless?
                                         I like best the button at the wrist,
though impractical in summer, I know. O do come back
soon, Toklas wrote, years after Stein’s death, I shan’t last forever.

Read another poem by Kathy Fagan in the Kenyon Review Sept/Oct 2015 issue, on sale now!

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