(a past life memory)
I remember Versailles,
with its hundreds of suites
and thousands of maids,
each prettier than the next.
The King placed his palace
with its pleasures and mysteries
at my disposal, trusting, he said,
that I would quickly learn
how to negotiate
the corridors of power.
In the mornings, when the maid bent to her task,
I stole behind her, lifted her skirts.
Being so far from home and family,
having crossed the ocean with my pack,
it felt natural to take my delight.
When the noble ladies heard of my appetite,
they sent me invitations
to join them for a midnight snack.
One particularly ravishing Countess
demanded to be savagely ravished
for remaining virginal in such a vital court.
When I had put an end to her abstinence,
I rested my weary head between her breasts.
She sweetly whispered into my throbbing ears,
“I’ve been properly chastised for my chastity.”
It was she who introduced me to her husband,
the Count and a Minister of the realm.
“You have a charming way of catching the ears
of the key players in this game,” he told me.
“It was not their ears I tickled,” I responded,
but the Count held up his hand for silence:
“The King is inclined to send our Navy to your
distant shores and blockade the British where they rest.”
“That is the best news a young State can ask for
and we shall do the rest! But tell me,
My Excellent Lord, how did you come to your decision?”
“It was my wife, the Countess, who assured me that
such vigor as you display will win the war.
Now the Countess seldom reaches such heights
of ecstasy concerning international matters,
and I hope it is only her enthusiasm that has infected me.”
The Count gave me a wink and continued,
“The British Generals and Admirals will be
along your shores for a few years,
but you must let your government know
that their wives often come here for their holidays
and we treat them with the same French hospitality
as we have treated you, my American friend.”
“With open arms,” I said, having to leave, feeling bereft.
“With open legs,” he said, turned on his heels and left.
October 10, 2003 (revised June 22, 2004)