5.12 / December 2010

Notes to a History of the Locket

She describes only the Norwegian variety, forgetting the French. Their intricate clasps and long silver chains.


Again the milky-eyed beloved.   Her sense of etiquette revealing itself as innate, machine-like.   Would compare her heart to a the inside of a clock.   Its radium dials.


Here Friedrich’s presentation of the necklace, with its glass bells and tiny silver flute, departs significantly from Austrian custom.   And still the luminous buttons on her shirt.


Now the locket as palimpsest.   As Latin inscription.


When she opened the box, a dancer twirled to the same Tchaikovsky suite.   A heap of charms and unsightly pearl earrings.


If the artisan were to realize.   Friedrich wandering the fields.


It was then she considered the array of miniatures.   In all of them, a portrait.   And each of these an ode.


A circle of violets etched into the walls of the jewelry box.   Only when she lifted its lid would the gears in her heart begin to turn.

A History of the Shoe:   Glossary of Terms

arch.   As in the curved part of her foot, which was adorned with a slightly more delicate fabric.   Near the end of the decade, diminutive heels also emerged as an appropriate accent.   This unraveling of decorum became the source of her great persuasive abilities.

coquette. One who chooses attire without considering its inevitable interpretation.   In this case, her shoes were intricately laced and visible beneath the hem of a blue silk dress.

desire. Synonymous with the strange or unknowable.   Consider the graceful arc of her ankle, its glistening rows of lacquer buttons.

emboss.   To impress upon.   At the time it was expected that the floral pattern around the toe remain hidden from view.   This widespread anxiety gave way to a preoccupation with her evening slippers, their endless variety.

instep.   In some circles considered the most seductive part of the Adelaide boot.   For a series of illustrations, see Appendix B.

slipper.   A reminder of the lakeside.   Her luminous hair.

tapered.   Defined as a shape that fades or becomes narrow.   Along the coast such embellishments became increasingly popular, and so her attire fell out of fashion.

Endnotes to a History of Desire


1. A two-act play, in which she finds that the man’s heart has been locked inside her sister’s jewelry box.

2. It was only after that she would wander the corridor, reciting each line of the sonnet.   Her embellished pronunciation of its French epigraph.

3. “Even then, I wanted to maintain a collection.   To catalogue, sort and procure.   Perhaps I could paint a portrait of him for each wall of the house.”

4. Intention.

1. One’s motive in acting.   A concealed inclination.
2. A plan or purpose, not yet fully realized.

5. The fresco depicts a series of exchanges between Orpheus and Eurydice as they ascend from the underworld.   Despite numerous attempts to unearth the sequence, its last panel remains obscured.

6. She slipped the epigraph under his door to preserve the ritual, its mythic stature.   That was when the snakeflies emerged.   Their deciduous humming.

7. The documentary (c. 1996) follows a woman through an analysis of recurring dreams.   Despite several attempts to establish boundaries between real and imagined, she continued to describe the fictional beloved.   His pale hands and delicate wrists.

8. Translated from the German as The empty rooms of the unconscious.

9. “I had hoped to complete the collection, with its nightingales and array of glass statuettes.  Perhaps even he could appreciate the infinite variety.”

10. Years later, at the request of a wealthy connoisseur, art historians excavated the last panel in the sequence. Only then did they believe that the ending of the myth remained unchanged.

11. Within the corridor, an odd stillness.   The nightingale’s dirty feathers.   A jewelry box shattered on the ledge.