(Inspired by Millais, Tate Britain)

My eyes are open now.
I know you watch me, judge me.
Your eyes linger as you imagine the waters eddy around me,
Swirling my flowers into tiny hamlets
And away again.
Ophelia, I lie, revived in paint so thick I can feel it
Seeping into my pretty mouth,
Through my precious lips,
Soaking my hair and ruining my dress.
In silence, I lie, awaiting my painted perfection to cease, but knowing,
With the silence of the birds and insects
And the stillness of the leaves,
That I am here immortalised.
And so I answer the Prince’s eternal question.
What answer is there but to be, to always be;
For he believed I was pretty in life,
But I know I will always be beautiful in death.


A. E. Rothman is a recent graduate of Victoria University. She attended the Poetry Workshop at the IIML in 2002, and has professional aspirations in both art and literature.