I have never wanted this innocence.

They said I did not know; they lied. They said I was abducted, daughter of civilization, by the beast-man; they do not know. What do they know of freedom or desire?

He bled out upon my dress, and stained my lips with his blood, and yet I lived. I lived, who had pleasure under his rude hands, his cress-stained mouth, who rode astride his back as often as in his arms. What harm could his blood do to me, or anyone? Blood is blood, as oil is oil — I have heard stories of desert men who make wine of blood for want of grapes.

But my gallant seamster, well-taught by patient Omphale, threaded a needle through that bifurcate heart flawlessly. He cried out, I recall, as we found the river together, not a hair of my head yet out of place. They say he spoke then, cunning words and unkind; that he poured a gentle poison in my ear, but no. He breathed as if to speak, but the river bore his words away.

No, there are poisons enough untainted by a thwarted love, and homelier. I knew that path of old. As did he, my faithless husband — his back aflame with a sear he well recalled, he knew — he knew, I say — the justice of my work.

They will say I died for sorrow; they will say I killed myself for knowledge come too late. They lie, they lie, they lie.