Contextualizing La Traviata

 Here is how tuberculosis
 makes you beautiful:
 

 You glow pale as a pearl.
 You sparkle with fever.
 Your body carves itself svelte, 
 your eyes grow big and wet, 
 and your limbs move 
 with the elegance 
 of fatigue. At the end 
 

 of Act Three, Violetta 
 succumbs to the source
 of her loveliness. Sickness
 keeps its promise. She dies 
 

 looking beautiful, so beautiful 
 that the audience isn’t aware
 they’re crying for loss of beauty, 
 not of life. 

By Annie Przypyszny