Muses are no better than harlots. —Cotton Mather, 1726

Strange that he mentions the muses.
Demons, yes. God, of course.
But harlots? Perhaps

in his last year. nearly
destitute, having outlived
thirteen of his children,

the Doctor of Divinity-—his man
who once wrote in his diary
about the wife who nearly killed

him with her madness, Misera
mea conjux in Paroxysmos
vere Satanicos—felt

another sorceress nuzzling
his ears about the price of flesh
before spinning it into words,

and he knew she too would leave
and he would be bereft
of a sweet and wicked thing

that gave him sustenance.