Okay, so, first of things, yes, Dante’s whole SITUATION-DEAL with Beatrice was probably as much literary device as it was genuine affection, which I am fully in the capableness of getting; I am not so adrift from historical context that I’ve forgotten about courtly love tropes and am like, worried for the sake of this dead Florentine’s right to privacy, so go ahead and delete that email, Alighierians; this is strictly for the purposes of fun.
Maybe the idea of a gentleman who beheld your visage but the twice writing a series of time-alteringly famous books where you are forced to guide him through Heaven and gaze beatifically on his bed a’nights is just exactly what gets you going, though. What this post presupposes, though, is: what if it wasn’t awesome?
fancy running into you here
beatrice, was it?
sorry, i didn’t see you there, ladies
was so busy reading my book here
oh, Beatrice, you say?
I meet so many women and learn their names on a daily basis, you know
hard to remember all of them
oh, sorry, i didn’t even notice you there
i was just admiring this dog, i didn’t even know it was yours
while i am here
would you like a book of poetry i have just published about you?
obviously your maidenly virtue would prevent you from taking it
so there’s no way you can say ‘no’ that i will believe is sincere
so i’ll just leave it here for you on this bench and assume you took it
oh, interesting, you have a new dog with you today
…I want to say Byerly?
lol im so bad at names and have not written yours all over the walls of my villa, so its going to take me a few more tries, Becca
hi i’m so sorry to bother you
from being alive?
we met that one time when you were eight and then I saw you again briefly nine years later and then you died after you married someone else?
idk if you remember me
my plan was sort of just to follow you around for eternity, heaven-wise
i hope that’s cool with you?
are these your friends?
have you read my poems yet
funny seeing you here!
with all your friends
hey if you’re not doing anything after you die do you want to guide me through Paradise??
if you are free then
what are you looking at
is it the beatific vision
do you see me in it
am i in the beatific vision
is it us, holding hands
keep gazing up adoringly if yes
your majesty is such that I dare not gaze directly upon you
you will have to lead me around Heaven while I look at your feet
that seems less convenient for both of us
madam, I climbed all the way through Hell and Purgatory just to have a chance to avert my eyes in your presence
i have dreamed of not looking directly at you for these past nine years
all right, then
step into the chariot and let’s begin
I DARE NOT
i will trot humbly behind
but then I have to slow down for you
I KNEW YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND
i can’t “go outside” with you
this is my time for looking at a portrait of Beatrice
not “going outside” time
you’re welcome to stay if you promise to be quiet and bring your own picture of Beatrice to gaze at
but i’m not going anywhere
look at these condemned lovers, EMBRACING
when i get to heaven i’m not going to do ANY of that with my girlfriend
she’s just going to show me a series of increasingly perfect wheels until i pass out
YOU’RE DEAD AND IN HEAVEN SO I KNOW THAT YOU CAN HEAR ALL OF MY PRAYERS
BEATRICE HOW ARE YOU
I KNOW YOU’RE IN HEAVEN SO YOU’RE “GOOD” BUT HOW ARE YOU SPECIFICALLY RIGHT NOW
DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT ALIVE PEOPLE
ALIVE PEOPLE WHO ARE WEARING THEIR RED JUMPSUITS AND ARE ALSO CURRENTLY EXILED FROM FLORENCE
WHOSE NAMES RHYME WITH “MANTE”
BEATRICE I CAN’T WAIT TO LOOK AT WHEELS OF PERFECTION WITH YOU
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.