Mr. Prosecutor (poem)
The witness/killer weeps
He is surprised…bushwhacked by a tactic
“Mother doesn’t care.”
Mother, he tells the doctor, is just outside in her rose garden.
Often since Papa died I find her staring at the fountain.
He calls to her from the patio, apologizes, she has gone upstairs.
“She’s having one of those spells. You’ve missed her, I’m afraid.”
Dr. Weber hoists his bag. “I’ll go up to her.”
Round-eyed he backs away.
But then David says, “No, no, it’s nothing, this weakness. But you mustn’t
The stealthy grey-haired housekeeper is seen
Dusting the spindle-legged table in the foyer
As cousin Margot grasps the telephone, it stops ringing.
Mrs. Nevers ushered to the witness stand
Admits she felt she must return from her disgrace
And look after her son. I could not disabuse him, Mr. Prosecutor
It seemed dangerous to do so. I began to keep house for him.
That the townsfolk trusted the science teacher seems odd, but his calling’s
eccentricity had been allowed.
Their feint and dodge in black and white opens the drama, as he eats his
apple pie and drinks his milk at
Friendly Maude McKinley’s lunch counter.
An invitee, his cousin Margot left bankrupt by divorce
Prompted in this strange house, with magazines laid open on her bedspread,
and a photo of a young and smiling David.
She knows it was not on the vanity the day that she was shown to
She finds honeyed tea on a tray with homemade candies, divinity and fudge.
Agnes Nevers left them, she can only suppose.
She sleeps in her chair, a pre-Raphaelite poem slides from her lap to the
This does not wake her.
She dreams of David, neatly groomed, without
the lock of silvered hair that falls over his brow.
Suited, asking her by gesture for a dance.
His broad ivy league forehead seems in fantasy restrained.
A normal marriageable man, though speaking in an accent
typified by theatre; for television playhouses of the day
preferred such roles essayed by the stage trained.
Who knew the cultivated little man now cringing on the stand
heard voices and saw apparitions. Dr. Weber knew.
Perhaps you would be healthier with a daily cup of cocoa-malt.
Sing along. No more laundry done with a block of soap.
Sponge your stains away
Rather than the thing you like we’re going to have mine
Rinse in hot the doubted house its cache of weapons left in sight
Gangs of rowdies need this reputation
For winning by a landslide in the coming insurrection
(copyright 2016 Stephanie Foster)