He mentions only the opulent red lace on her garter,
forgetting its cluster of violet ribbons. Their intricate
knots unraveling as she ascended the tiny staircase.


She remembers that year for its lengthy periods of
mourning.  Her elaborate displays of miniature
portraits and lifeless clocks.


Thus his presentation of the bracelet, with its dark
green ornaments and lock of tangled hair, seemed
unusual, even mythical.


Now the century as gilded.  As a field of blue lilies.


She kept the bracelet in a locked drawer to preserve
its luster.  The silver chain tarnishing on a red velvet


The violet ribbon on her garter was dyed black at
the end of the season.  Only then did she consider
the gradual change in her attire.  Its darkening lace
and starched taffeta sleeves.


In the winter months, lilies continue to bloom under
glass.  Her insatiable interest in hermetic methods of

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KRISTINA MARIE DARLING is the author of over twenty collections of poetry, which include X Marks the Dress (2013, with Carol Guess), Fortress (2014, Sundress Publications), Ghost / Landscape (2016, with John Gallaher), and Dark Horse (2017), forthcoming from C & R Press. Her awards include fellowships from Yaddo, the Ucross Foundation, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, as well as grants from the Kittredge Fund and the Elizabeth George Foundation. She was recently selected as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome.

One response to “Notes on the Fin de Siècle”

  1. Reno Romero says:

    nice poem. love the imagery, kristina.

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