There are truths in our most ancient
Body horrors. The men with faces only
Seeing from their stomachs: they may still exist.
The women who kept a mouth at the deep
Dark back of their heads, hidden in hair,
Untouchable and treacherous. The strange
Grey ladies who knew too much, and cut the twine
Of life out, sharing one clear vision between them;
Great men with one line of sight, in their own heads;
And the younger girls, who sounded harmless enough
And ruined ships. In my time I’ve met them all,
Done deals with devils, shared my bread with hags,
Drank furiously with a faun or two. Their kind
Has danced with us, one way or another, ever since
We invented them: their bodies are our bodies,
Their treacheries ours, their every malice, ours.
If anyone ever tells you that you look out of shape, think about Marco Polo’s nonsense-creatures and consider yourself well and truly in shape.