“I constitute myself in the process of ‘posing,’ I instantaneously make another body
for myself, I transform myself into an image.”
—Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes
I imagined myself on the way
to have my body stretched over the wheel,
when the angels came
with lightning that sent spikes and splinters
into the air. Blood everywhere.
I wouldn’t have looked any happier then,
so it was a good thing
he painted the scene he painted:
my sulking self looking more pallid
than I knew, though if boredom
and the heft of such luxurious fabrics
this painting might have done me in.
When I am beheaded, I thought,
milk will flow from my veins.
It was a relief not to be myself,
to see someone else’s future.
Elizabeth Siddal (1829-1862) was an artist’s model, a painter, and a poet
associated with the Pre-Raphaelites and married to Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
Return to table of contents for Issue 9 Summer 2015.