I sit as I sit every morning after breakfasting, an open book before me. On the polished expanse of table a silver teaspoon and a china cup, the sun from the window illuminating its delicate translucency, reflecting off the gold rim like the sun at the moment it disappears below the horizon. This is my private sunset, or, should it be, sunrise. My hand, pale and thin, each vein showing faintly blue beneath the skin, rests lightly on Canto XIII of Dante’s Hell, as if it were made of wax. Through the window I see green and blue; a rich green dark with new life, the sky only slightly tinted, as in a watercolour. White and black cows spot the hills, a tail switching in one leaded pane, disconnected from the body in the next, head lowered to the grass. A small sparrow alights on a branch and is framed for an instant in an upper corner, then another. The lake, with its lattice of reeds and antique punt, flashes in rectangles like cubes of aspic, fish scales or diamonds around the throat of a beautiful woman. My own face, if I lean forward, will also be dissected thus, the eyes, the nose quite separate, the mouth sliced in two by a black line. Soon I must walk, then see my physician. Tonight I will go to the opera and dine with Lady X.
Nicolette Stasko is a contemporary Australian poet, novelist and non-fiction writer of United States origin.