Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.
Sweet heart, where are you?
A dusky moon has risen in my window
and it’s so damn lonesome here tonight.
They say you’re dead and some days I believe
it until my mind declares it’s those ghastly
voices again. Soon the doctor will electrify
me with his fandangled wires. I’ll be balled
up and blank as a page but please,
don’t despair, Baboo.
Today I sat outside and painted
the tulip trees and started penning
a new novel. You’d think it swell,
even though you never could see the artist
in me. Ah, let’s not fuss with that old quarrel.
I wish it were midsummer and we were diving
into jade and amethyst from the highest cliffs
at Cap d’Antibes or lying in the long citoneuse
beams of the sun on the plage at Juan-les-Pins.
You could drive us too fast
in your borrowed breezer along the winding,
palm-fringed roads of Côte d’Azur until the sky melts
into pink. I can hear the piano and drums calling jazz
from Villa America, smell the heliotrope
in the air. I’ll dress with audacity and rouge.
Let’s dance on the terrace, spiflicate
ourselves with mint juleps and sing
a Goofo duet for the others.
We could not repair after Edouard.
He was just an imagining, a folly
to distract me during Gatsby. Like Isadora
combing her fingers through your hair,
calling you ‘Centurion’. It was a jealous heart
and moonshine that made me burn
all my clothes in the bath. But tonight
I love you anyway—even if there isn’t any me
or any love or even any life.
You must be close now.
Come quickly and take me to Cuba.
Note: This monologue imagines Zelda reflecting on her love for F. Scott Fitzgerald as she lies in her room at Highland Hospital, North Carolina, waiting for ECT therapy in March 1948.
‘Eulogy on the Flapper’ is the title of an article written by Zelda Fitzgerald and published in Metropolitan Magazine in June 1922.