On Monsters and Mothers
Based on the works of Ambroise Paré from his book On Monsters and Marvels, 1573.
She tells me I'm a monster, as she steps toward me.
The kind caused by the wrath of God.
Perhaps, she says, it was by the power of her imagination, that this monster had thus been produced.
Too much seed? Too little?
She suggests the narrowness or smallness of the womb.
Perhaps, it was her indecent posture when pregnant. She sat too long with her legs crossed.
Maybe, she muses thoughtfully, as she sits across from me, she fell, or something or someone struck her womb, while with child.
Maybe, it's hereditary. No. Silly her - of course not, obviously not. I was conceived, was I not?
Maybe her seed was rotten, or his was corrupt.
A mixture or mingling of seed? She moves beside me.
She could have been cursed.
It could have been the Devil. And she looks at me.
Like that reason is the most probable. A god-fearing woman would agree.
I'm breaking out of my bonds - unnaturally - against the will of God, she sighs and takes up my hand.
She tells me I am worse than atheists and sodomists - those loathsome, wicked, hideous people.
Being a woman is enough she told me.
How could I love them?
Copulating, like brutish beasts, in which my appetite guides me.
Away from Him.
She told me she hopes that I grow displeased and melancholy at seeing myself so repugnant to everyone, so that my life is brief.
She looks at me.
It is not good that monsters should live among us.
If only she had known. They have doctors who know these things. They look at the genitalia, to wit, whether the female sex organ is of proper dimensions to receive the male rod [penis] and whether the menstrues flow through it; similarly by the face and by the hair, whether it is fine or coarse; whether the speech is virile or shrill; whether the teats are like those of men or women; similarly whether the whole disposition of the body is robust or effeminate; whether they are bold or fearful, and other actions like those of males or of females.
But what is sex?
She says to me; you bring me great shame and holds my face in her hands bringing me close to her tears.
It is as if she gave birth to a serpent, or to a dog, or some other thing that is totally against Nature, she confesses to me.
She tells me I am contaminated, dirty and corrupt, and her fingertips fall down my cheeks. An infection that has appeared over time and manifested itself in the worst of ways.
She pulls me closer inside her and tells me in detail the results of my malignancy.
Oh God. Oh God. Where did she ever go wrong?
She stands back, her fingers lingering at her mouth.
She looks with disgust on this monster she has fashioned out of regret