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“Nero died within a year and a half of their marriage, but—astonishingly—Sporus was compelled to go on playing the role of Sabina.” (Champlin, Nero 2005)

The way love just means another obligation. Something personal: an equisite gemstone carved to depict the Rape of Proserpina. And to think it would wrap around his finger like a snake coaxed out of the grass. The old men believe this is a portent of failure the way water swells about a freshly wrecked ship. I imagine Sabina, herself, would agree. She is the queen of the dead donning a series of thick veils. And yes, there is something that is concealed when it is brought above the surface: That we are all the same woman, nervously aware of everything that is different. Always so concerned with the way a body says Hello, and how are the children? These are the things that never change—that body is the thing we do our best with; veils like a city sinking beneath my feet becoming a body of water. There is nothing astonishing about it. Look—Sabina rows herself across the waves the way a bride sees her own face in the mirror before judgement; how each ripple bends the light around it toward something less painful, new—the way I wish he would whisper Yes, I like that. I like that a lot, I do