At The Villa Diodati, June, 1816

[for Lady Licia, barefoot; and her friend, Shawn, in socks]


Justine and her unnamed and covert lover
are, as the human form is, beautiful
beyond imagining---she feminine,
petite; and he, tall, by birth masculine,
but in appearance much the androgyne.
The world of mere men cannot quite discover
how beauty in the flesh reflects the soul
as theirs does.  Mere men look with jealousy
upon them, and---from arrogance---suppose
that in their world, described by common prose,
can be no metaphor or simile
(as they are) neither sheerest poetry.
Of each of them, this makes monstrosity.
To this, my ghostly tale will be a mirror
with necessary narrative distortion
of those mere men he frightens, those who fear her,
each a great terror, each a botched abortion.

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