The Impresario: an alphabet (part one)

impresario part one a cast of characters and signature bird

 

Part One

 

The care he had taken of her in his first fascination

was a rebuke to him in later years

He feared love, to feel it, a twining tendril’s prod

Her trusting kindnesses make his heart go soft

His mind tainted, a sympathy unnatural

for property; a monstrosity can be bought

for the compensation of a few coins

And why ought it to have a name?

But he began to call her Regalus

As the gawpers would not guess her sex

Used by him, although she faithfully sought

To be of use.

His hunchback (such uninteresting freaks earn nothing)

Could undertake dictation of a letter;

Tortu, once thought an imbecile

But taught a fine hand, clerical

To adapt himself to speechlessness

He did not excuse it

in cyphers, written down…the impresario

Having considered the means by which he might learn her secret—

How she had been born clean; when the curse befell

How she’d come to beg from beggars, kept back

Even from the palings of the shantytown

How long had she lived there, dumb herself and wallowing in mud?

No, in time, under tutelage, she could tell him so

“Tell me this, Regalus…”

“Which is like a bird, returning to its nest?”

The dauphin with his flippered arms possessed

Of a rare, sweet tenor sings to her each saying of Tortu’s

She laughs. “My dear, the letter W”

This is progress, learning. Her thigh touches his

As side by side they share the driver’s bench

Her scabbed pink head and hair that grows in patches

Hid beneath a wayfarer’s woolen cap

Her gaiety on this fair day as their wagonload

Of odd attractions slows

A horde of belled and parti-colored travelers

Push handcarts on the road

 

Part Two

 

(copyright 2016 Stephanie Foster)

 

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