In the drab walled room in the attic
I peer from the spotted mirror
in the cavernous dressing table.
Out of the sooty window
the ice of muslin flapping wetly
the street all oil cloth and patent roofs
I am corset bound and flesh-pinched
white and soft above and below
all singed curls and droppered earrings,
hiding the disease and wrapping myself in virtue.
But when you leave with your stare and tut and all the dead relatives
withdraw to their paintings
I claw myself bloody.