Published in Overland Issue 240 Spring 2020 Uncategorized Loïe Fuller entertains M. and Mme Curie at Boulevard Kellerman Jessica L Wilkinson (Knock knock knock): Lo Lo at the door, her big eyes blue to bursting through the threshold of the simple house at 108, and billowing fabric, a train of electricians in her wake. ‘La Loïe’, receptive to fancy, desired luminous wings of radium, had read a story in the paper of the couple whose curiosity burned through harsh Parisian winters in a makeshift lab; Marie laboured at the cauldron in the courtyard, separating pitchblende, while Pierre examined specimens of radioactive matter. For years, they inhaled the aberrant air, excited by tiny hazards; their love may have been quantifiable from dawn chores to the bedside table, growing deeper with each working day and penetrating joints and bones. Troubles were dismissed like sweat, like steam, like smoke; they didn’t fully know the power of their work, how it followed them home like a yapping dog. Trace particles no doubt laced cups, clothes and cookbooks; all the doorknobs turned on danger. Yet, despite fatigue and aches and pains, they glowed. Loïe, too, knew how to suffer one’s vocation, ice packs pressed against her spine when she was merely ‘woman’. She had to move to sweep away the cold that chilled her marrow, to exceed the human form that weighed her down. Picture the peculiar vision in the dining room that day at 108: her dancing silks becoming flower, flame, fevered in a harmony of light and sound and swirling screens that cycle cerulean, azure, cobalt and blue. The captive audience of three — Pierre, Marie and little Irène — look shocked at such a strange disruption to their modest home. Loïe’s smile, if you can catch it, radiates like an electric fairy, charged by force of revolution. She doesn’t mind the fact that they could not fulfil her fantasies for phosphorescent costumes; she dances to salute their efforts to reply at all. Loïe knows her swirling colours tease the hem of Marie’s plain, black dress with the rapture of a metaphor, is pleased to introduce imaginary visions of a different kind into the Curie’s field. These women are not, it seems, so dissimilar. Both anticipated more to find amidst the Earth’s seen detail, they pushed the limitations of their bodies to uncover possible truths. And later, when catastrophes had brutally amassed in Marie’s lap, a letter from the dancer braced this purpose: ‘pay no attention to the lies’, she wrote, and signed off with a swelling ‘c’est la vie.’ Read the rest of Overland 240 If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue Or subscribe and receive four brilliant issues for a year Jessica L Wilkinson Jessica L Wilkinson’s latest book of poetry is Music Made Visible: A Biography of George Balanchine (Vagabond Press, 2019). She is the managing editor of Rabbit and an Associate Professor in Creative Writing at RMIT University. More by Jessica L Wilkinson Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays 2 First published in Overland Issue 228 3 February 20233 February 2023 Fiction Fiction | Romeo and Juliet II: Haunted rentals Georgia Symons The hauntings are actually quite flamboyant here, though. Yeah, come in, come in. Not like my friend Moya’s house—it just has a tool shed that sometimes isn’t there and that’s it. So boring. Yes, you can keep your shoes on. 2 First published in Overland Issue 228 2 February 20233 February 2023 The university Deadly word games: universities and defining antisemitism Nick Riemer In a few weeks, Vice-Chancellors will be discussing a request by a group of federal politicians to endorse the latest weapon in Zionists’ longstanding bid to suppress criticism of Israeli apartheid on campus—the highly controversial definition of antisemitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Their decision will constitute a watershed moment for universities’ already somewhat threatened credibility as centres of independent analysis and truth-telling.