Two Poems
Kristina Marie Darling

melancholia, definition (verb)
1. To mourn excessively. 2. To lose, forfeit, or misplace a love token -- to commission a body of water in its place. 3. To cross an ocean and find frost gleaming on every shore. 4. To be stricken with a sensitivity to light. 5. To follow, to ask, to be led. 6. To play a familiar piece of music -- to describe each movement as a heralding. 7. To name, as a historian would.

Footnotes to a History of Melancholia

1. Three of the most luminous pendants, which he fastened at the back of her magnificently white neck.
2. She opened the locket once the shades were drawn. The darkest lace bristling at her shoulders.
3. "I had wanted to preserve my collection, with its array silver clasps and glittering charms. Now the most striking necklace shattered at my feet."
4. Deconstruct.
1. To break down into constituent parts.
2. To apply a formal literary or scientific theory.
5. A little known Parisian film, in which a woman refers to her beloved as a "strange machine." Critics generally understand the work as a parody of rigid nineteenth-century courtship rituals.
6. Although she could no longer recall the origin of the turquoise necklace, she knew its significance to the greater world. Meaning, in this case, his empty champagne glass and discarded leather glove.
7. Babiole. Translated from the French as token or trinket.
8. Because the broken necklace seemed irreparable, it sank to the bottom of her lavish jewelry box. Its silver chain tarnishing on a velvet pillow.
9. "When I saw the trinket, I could only stare. And now the entire house murmuring with little silver charms."
10. The museum specialized in artifacts of mid-nineteenth century courtship rituals. Each necklace was sealed in a hermetic jar bearing the name of the patron saint of lost causes.
11. Her famed locket, which he had garnished with pink lacquer roses, held only an empty frame.

A History of Melancholia: Glossary of Terms

beloved. The raison d'ètre of the melancholic's affliction. Consider the graceful line of his wool coat, its fabric dark against the towering snowdrifts.
courtship. A set of social conventions that gave rise to their exchanging of love tokens. These antique pendants, which held locks of tangled hair, were inevitably lost in the great avalanche.
locket. An object onto which her memories were inscribed. When she thought of their evening soirées, its clasp seemed smaller, more intricate.
memento. A foreshadowing of their ominous tète-á-tète. The charms she would unpin from her blue silk dress.
mourning. Described as a year of pathological grief, in which her locket gave rise to a luminous and deathly narcissism.
nightingale. A harbinger of both despair and the onslaught of winter. Its bright mornings and colorless evenings.
ocean. Now iced over, this body of water was said to reflect the imperceptible radiance of their courtship. Compare, in its present state, to a discarded necklace, pendant, or charm bracelet.