Listen. Sit down beside me and listen. My face is red with sorrow and my breasts are made of straw. I sit in the ladder-back chair in a corner of the polished stage. I have forgiven all the old actors for dying. A new one comes on with the same lines, like large white growths, in his mouth. The dancers come on from the wings, perfectly mated.
I look up. The ceiling is pearly. My thighs press, knotting in their treasure. Upstage the bride falls in satin to the floor. Beside her the tall hero in a red wool robe stirs the fire with his ivory cane. The string quartet plays for itself, gently, gently, sleeves and waxy bows. The legs of the dancers leap and catch. I myself have little stiff legs, my back is as straight as a book and how I came to this place— the little feverish roses, the islands of olives and radishes, the blissful pastimes of the parlor— I'll never know.