For Julie Kavanagh

The red strawberry stops between my teeth just before my fingers have a chance to push it further into my mouth. I’m watching Nureyev’s dance of the knight. “O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Juliet’s dress is kissed with reverence. The strawberry falls between my legs. My eyes are fixed on him. But in my memory I see that his bodily movements are not those in his beloved painting by Fuseli: Satan Starting from the Touch of Ithuriel’s Spear. I’m looking for a dark touch of this illustration for Milton’s Paradise Lost in Nureyev’s Shakespearean Gothic Romanticism. But all is pink. “Pale pink ballet slippers could be yours for just 50 dollars.” They are, according to Christie’s auction catalogue, “considerably soiled and worn.” The Montagues ladies swish their garments against those of the Capulets. Legs go left, then right. My hand goes up and down between my thighs. The strawberry resists being found. Viola d’amore picks up Prokofiev’s dramatic tune of “da.” Da-a-a-a. My mouth, still open, articulates: “what am I saying yes to?” Nureyev’s legs open wider. So do Juliet’s. And mine too. We’re all ready for the red touch. Re-speared. Re-souled. Re-soiled. Re-sealed. Sold.


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