Not healing herb, nor dragon's wing,
nor surgeon's skill, nor serpent's sting,
nor spell, nor ghost that healed the king.
But that the surgeon, tired, distraught,
still heard the mumbling woman out;
abandoned pride; considered; thought.
A hundred hook-mouthed maggots mined
the king's fouled flesh, devoured, dined:
a feast that left no taint behind.
(First published in Star*Line)