Helen Mitchell Photography 1873

Issue ThreePoetry

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By Melinda Jane

 

Floor-grazing gown

cinched at the waist

silhouette black crepe

crisp and crimped

who would imagine

three years on

the murder.

 

Plunging lace trimmed neckline

with split sleeves reveal

gown moves like reeds

wisteria hung black lace overlay.

The body was overlaid

with dirt and wheat

concealing like lace.

 

Sculpted tailored waves

five-line ribbon trim

shoulder and sleeves

belt of satin contours

the bell spread silken crepe.

Sculptured stock whip handle

satin blood

blows contour her face.

 

Victorian jewel amethysts

‘the gemstone of love’

dazzled deep violets

purples captivate

oval shape.

Like her face

pounded purple

three blows.

 

Helen, Mary wear rings

one large gem

the other nine tiny gems

both set in gold band

one wife’s ring

the other

another’s ring.

 

Helen, pierced ears

hanging, dangling

brushing, feathering

her shoulders

inlaid drop earrings

patterning flowers, leaves and vines.

Mary, wearing sister’s shawl

red black plaid shawl

fasten tight

snake brooch

cursed with a lusty bite

battered bruised head

shrouded shawl

tied around her head.

 

Jewellery

emotional messages

read

symbols

call out love

or mourning

regret

thirty-four days of waiting.

 

Helen, hair worn high

back

tight

light humours eyes

shrewd eyebrows

angular little poised nose.

His white handkerchief

Helen’s coach man

Mary’s fiancé

ties her hands

sweet tempered house maid

wearing cashmere boots

strangulation

lay bound

unfound

in Helen’s wheat field.

 

Cameo brooch

carved out of shell

stunning gold albert fob chain

swinging, hinged

to a locket compartment

pinned to Helen Mitchell’s waist.

Hinged to rope

lock compartment splits

hung his neck

William Page

murderer.

 

Image provided by poet