It is a harsh plaything. Stiffened with whales' teeth, it is a dainty terror; a canvas structure coated with starch and paste. A width of carved bone, curve-defying, slides beneath the laced front, emphasizing with geometrical ferocity the triangular beauty of a woman's torso.
The woman who felt its embroidered embrace also felt her interior cage compressed, as her organs swam through the living plasma in a panic, trying to avoid the rapier ripostes of her ribs. Laces, plaits of iron, reduce Nature's plan to angles and plains. The immovable cat's cradle creates interior destruction, although – even now – we can't help but admire its delicate route.
A garden sways across the breast; panels are the color of a mermaid's tail. Bows are like transparent roses floating on a jade-colored lake.
The art, the careful beauty, is an apology for the pain.