Steven Jackson

She looks inland to the town now, not out above the bay to the sea -
tired, having seen it all before.

The exedra is cold to the old flesh of her naked arms;
its marble is strong and smooth,
and reminds her of the bones of her youth –
like limbs of town girls who rush about her now.

She cannot see things for the first time –

cannot join in their type of screaming,
clamber the steps as if to throw herself down into the sea,
risk life for a view,
from birds’ eyes, over Baiae.

Resting, she sits in the colours of her experience -
head scarf, all blue tissue, is the blue of sea behind her, bruising down
to the black silk of her own Spring dress;
the oleander she holds seeks her sagged skin
as a place to rest its purple -

while the girls look out to sea:

three white dresses,
washed with a vigour threatening holes;

white dresses,
brushed and left out in the warm night air;

hardly white, against their skin, against the marble,
against their marble skin.

Baiae was an ancient Roman resort on the bay of Naples.

Main Location:

80070 Baiae, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy

Other locations:

Romantic view of Baiae by JMW Turner