Yes. Such were the eyes through which in rage and pain
Coiled the spent zodiac of her spirit;
And skin that tarnished where a finger rubbed it,
And jewelled boneless hand that stroked a ferret.
And mark the enamelled mouth, the ears laid back
Bitch-like against a head whose pride appalled
(Despite the coiffeur’s art) my uncles most of all:
The head beneath the wig rose clear and bald.
The approving eye unerringly alights
On formal trees as fine as maidenhair,
Takes in a tower, moves upwards to interrogate
A hawk and pigeon circling in the air
Behind her. A day as lucid as the brows
For which ironic loves expend their breath,
Brandy behind their ears, brandy on their breath —
O subtle miniaturist in violent death!
— As I remarked, the head was bald … as glass,
And was especially odious to my uncles
To whom all forms of glass breathed and were evil;
The eye inhales the jug, dilates and rankles
Where Lucrezia’s hand, boneless as a mollusc,
Slips in a phial, winks, and disappears,
As do my uncles and all their heirs …
The jewelled hands play with the ferret’s ears.
By Alistair Te Ariki Campbell