Lady with an Ermine, by Leonardo da Vinci
The fair lady gazes at her pools of ocre eyes in the mirror nearby, “Oh where are my pretenders of the afternoon? Shall my tea take a chill while I await?”
Lady: Silence, wretch! Care you to be the laughing stock of Italy, or, I know, my handmaiden’s shawl!
Ermine: Why are your hands so large, and so very deathly cold, my dear Lady of the Night? Is your headband cutting into your skull, center of all motor functions, or is my prodigious weight forcing your back to arch as your pitifully weak arms give out?
Lady: Why are your arms are so muscular, you little albino dinosaur.
Ermine: Listen, my princess, you humans have already ceased in your evolutionary path, while my species is destined to very nearly over-populate the earth. While you grow weaker and your technology less inspired, I grow stronger and less needful of melanin. I will be almost self-sufficient, and you will be as dependent on your many lovers as ever.
Lady: Your soft pelt draws people in, it is true. But every boon can just as easily be a curse. Just consider my beauty in its many forms. I have a very curious second eyebrow gracing my forehead, a part in my hair that could do a farmer proud when he lays the rows for corn…And yet I cry every night! It is true what you say, I need Mr. Donne, oh, and Mr. Cornwallis, and Mr. Botticelli…
The Ermine interrupts to slap her across the face, “God rest your mother’s Danish soul should she witness this spectacle! Be chase, lassie!”
The lady spun on her heels and faced the mirror, disconcerting the ermine. “Good day! I see that some pondering lies ahead of me. That and a bottle of wine and some cheese, perhaps with Mr. Modigliani, atop the paints in his studio…No! I shall mount only my great stallion and go directly home, not even stopping at the baker’s.”