A man sees Artemis bathing,

a mountain pool at midnight, her place of power.

Her hair is the black river’s glass,

her skin bone-white and moonlit,

her eyes the great twinkling dark of the night sky

and her smile filled

with baying hounds and

a child-like simplicity

a man might mistake

for harmlessness.

In this, our chosen reading

of the myth, he only pauses too long;

in others,

he will try to

force himself upon her.

 

No matter: the insult

remains the same.

The goddess sees him

his mouth open, catching flies,

his eyes glazed;

and Actaeon becomes prey,

a stag, devoured

by his own hounds. How

awful, how evil, I had thought,

when once I read this story. All that

for looking? How could anyone

fault him that?

But I am older now.

I understand.