Thursday, January 19, 2017

Crème Céleste* & Arabella, the Jar Lid

Oh, Arabella! – I call you that, you know,
in homage to your lovely alabaster head –
such finely modeled rare translucent
pinkish tan and cream! – set above your

shoulders, elegantly wrapped in bronze,
delicately tooled – the sort of collar you’d
have worn as an adornment on a deep
blue dress on a perfect summer afternoon.

Oh! – know my heart is with you as you face
another hundred fifty years ahead as what
you’re fated to remain: the lid upon a blue
ceramic jar of an emolument called Crème

Céleste – featuring, though fortunately
at your back where you can’t make it out,
too blunt, too common an accounting
of white wax and spermaceti and the rest

of what cannot suggest the barest breath
of your bless’d gracefulness. It is enough
that you should have to bear the sore indignity
of acting as a jar lid on this hard blue jar –

and yet you pull it off as if it were a minor
inconvenience in your otherwise exquisite life –
which though you are a jar lid – hasn’t kept
you from imagining what on a round enameled

peacock blue container of emolument might
one day magically attract the gentleman
for whom you wait and whom you’re sure now
waits for you to make you his beloved wife.


* It was during [the 1850s] Crème Céleste became popular, which was a mixture of white wax, spermaceti (from an organ inside sperm whale’s head), sweet almond oil, and rosewater. This facial paste had moisturising properties, but it also hid blemishes and provided a light smooth complexion. It developed into a common emollient and cosmetic remover, soon known as cold cream.

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