The fresh-faced youth, dagger on hip,
is possessed of many secrets.
Spy, chameleon, a wolf in sheep’s clothing,
accustomed to the shadows,
indeed, he is not a ‘he’ at all,
but a woman in service to her dauphin.
The drape of her shirt and breeches
hint at her curves, her muscle,
the delicate arch of her feet
in her red court shoes
long and well suited to
slipping across foreign marble
to do what she must.
She has played the man-at-war,
the page boy and the cupbearer,
the mistress and the catamite,
in the bed of men and women both,
their pillow talk treason carried away
while she still bears their bruises and love bites.
Servant of the state, the empire,
her lord and her god-
she is Madonna, Joan of Arc,
a thousand women unnamed,
her king’s blade, steel under velvet.
A piece inspired by the prompt of a Tarot card.