Fresco, Villa of Mysteries


Give me a quiet garden, Horatio. One made of mouths, the skin

of Dionysus and flowers spilling into the stone courtyard

and let the courtyard not be made of the sun’s lace

for we must wait until the 16th century

for lace to make its appearance. Not of Venetian glass beads

for no slave has yet been traded for glass. Rather let us

build the openwork fabric of our garden

on the fear in the body

of a simple virgin who approaches marriage and if the details

of these frescoes are difficult to interpret, still, there can be

no argument as to their high quality.




Atrium, House of the Silver Wedding


Life must have been extremely comfortable at Pompeii.

In the summer, the open plan of the house would help keep the interior cool.

My mother came rushing into the bedroom. I believed I was perishing

along with everyone else. Tallahassee, invest in gold now!

There was an eclipse. Tallahassee, we are waiting

        for you to invest in gold! All the charm and comforts of Pompeii

pale in comparison to Imperial Rome. Tallahassee, get gold

shipped to your door! We specialize in buying old and broken

      gold and silver jewelry, as well as old US coins, foreign coins,

bullion from around the world, and sterling silver flatware and hollowware.


Photograph courtesy of Steven Zucker

In Conversation: Pankaj Mishra and Aman Sethi