Lee Passarella
Dante’s Confession
     - after Inferno, Canto V

I’ve heard the fair sex sometimes
feign that sweet paroxysm Eve invented
in the Garden, after she “did eat”
and she’d learned the fleshly arts.
It’s a kindly meant deception,
taking into account the way to a man’s
heart is really through that huge
and tumid and God-forsaking ego of his
(the grandest organ he’s got about him!),
instead of through a lesser organ, as some report.
Well, it’s all a game anyway, Lord help us….
And so it was that I concocted my gentle
little ruse for Francesca’s sake,
my girlish sham demise—in short,
my famous swoon:
a tribute meant for her who brought
death into the world and would now
give a world if she could die,
down to her soul,
poor child.