Tincture of opium: a suffusing
saturating permeating flood.
Over the counter
from the grocer, the barber, the baker.
A painkiller, a cordial
for irritable babies and bedwetting toddlers,
to alleviate cough, gout, menopause,
rheumatism, ulcers, cramps, bruises.
Nothing anyone suffered
could not be cured.
Hard to know whether sadness
is cause or effect, whether jealousy
is warranted or wanted, whether fatigue
comes or goes as a result,
whether weight is a figment,
whether subject matter, weightless.
I am drawn, so drawn.
I still hear that pun
as it weathers: the lasting for permanence,
the draining away under strain.
How much is enough?
A hundred drops in an evening will lead me
to the difference between
intransitive and transitive,
between drop: slump, decline, fall, plunge
and drop: let go of, release.
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.