I hear Dante pass, still fresh with the horror of the infernal pit he had risen from to see the stars once more. My breath catches again.
Does he see me? Now? Ever?
I’m no Beatrice. My face proves not salvific.
I had lived too long. She, too short a time.
Would you say to her, death is quite romantic? Or, death will immortalize you in terza rima? You would not say that of me, the one overlooked in search of another.
Here in purgatorio, my envious eyes are sewn shut. My mouth is not. Yet the voices in my ears speak generosity.
So I say, as he passes, The pain that twisted me to bitter envy I unloose to blessing. May it guide you to Beatrice. Nay, may it guide you to the God of love.
And the wires loosen from my eyes.
As a young boy, the poet Dante lived next door to Beatrice who, though he never spoke to her, he loved from afar, and to whom, through his love for her, he credits his spiritual and poetic journey. I have imagined in this piece of fiction, “the other girl next door” who never caught his attention but had fallen in love with him to no avail and to her own self-destruction.Continue reading “The (Other) Girl Next Door”