To Sisi, the Empress of Beauty by Christina Pathoumthong

Your Papilli once sworn: “If you and I had not been princely born,

We could have performed in a circus.” Now would you have liked that purpose?

Instead of the life you had not expected, married at sixteen to your sister’s intended,

A man who was completely taken by your grace and beauty, the young Emperor of Austria and Hungary.

Your spirit lingers around me as I see white walls and grand trees

You would have loved my century for there are no cages of duty or expectations of delicacy

You and I would sit on the grass of green and watch as the deer pass by with no fear of you or me.

You longed for Possenhofen in the spring or any place to escape your wretched mother in law and your King.

Telegraph Papilli, tell him of your woes and sorrows, yet you do not, you hide in your furnished borrow.

Hold your children and make them remember you for your bottomless intellect and childlike virtue

But your role as a mother is discouraged treated as the empire’s relentless, guileless scourge.

Beauty, however, is your one power, even though for others aging sours.

So you hold onto whatever you have to handle, hair all the way to your ankles.

First is little Sophie at the age of two then in Mayerling, your Rudolf, sweet but jejune.

And with a stab in the heart, you sting, yet you said to Countess Stzaray, “It is nothing”.