The Virgin's Aleitheia
Steven Fowler


certain girls around fourteen years old cannot be satisfied
by intercourse
and then, if they do not have a man
they feel in their minds intercourse with a man
and often imagine men's private parts
and often rub them strongly with their fingers
or with other instruments until
the vessels having been relaxed through the heat of rubbing and coitus
the spermatic humour exits
with which the heat exits
and then their groins are rendered temperate
and then become they more chaste


properly called is the womans yard
sometimes it groweth to such a length that it hangeth without the cleft
like a mans member
especially when it is fretted with the touch of cloths
and this part it is which those wicked women do abuse


a sense of weight and fullness in the hypogastric region
led to examination of the hymen
which I found much distended
pressed outward
and imperforate
on dividing that membrane
more than two quarts of collected menstruous fluid escaped
of the consistency of treacle
after which the urgent symptoms quickly abated


due to a mistranslation of Gerard or Cremona
of a medical text written by al-Razi
what had been described in the Arabic as a particularly health-giving
bitumen called mummiya
became in latin
the particular health giving fluid of corpses found in egyptian tomb
this is the mumia of the sepulchres
with aloes and myrrh mixed with the humiditate of the human
it was mistakenly believed that human corpses
were the source of this panacea
virginal mumia was considered to be the most beneficial
and was therefore also the most expensive


never to forget the anger and disgust at that moment
it was so wrong
I remember turning to god
and hissing
those people are so sick
pray a lot
ask god to give you repentance for your sin
and go talk to a counsellor
this is a big deal


stylus writes on tablet
hammer pounds anvil
plough tills the fecund field
those who may not use their pens
may not live forever as reward