The Impresario: an alphabet (part two)

part two a rat overlooking the city

 

Part Two

 

In his dreaming calculations lying wakeful

He recalls himself, in this bed built for a dying wife

Never so alive with fear for his charges

He had always paid the roustabouts

To guard the wagon, warned Tortu

Whose wise and solemn eyes obey

To take a crown and buy them cakes

To keep his creatures cloaked and masked

Until the day

Now answering in kind he follows clues

Wordless, the distance tightening

Until the rigid half-circle they’d sketched

Became a letter G

Through the seat of commerce with his spine contracted

By an unexpected terror of its shadowed lanes

He searched for symbols, charcoaled, and at length

Traced a pathway marked in cornerstones

Blacked atop with compass lines

Arrows pointing east

And when he came to a butcher’s stall

Where piglets hung like tally marks, in chords

He ducked behind and found a row of houses

Counted on his left an open courtyard

Counted on his right…one, two, three, four

 

She had swallowed a wasp on Saint Thomas’s day

Eleven months undelivered

A log of wood burst with a shocking report

Spewing sparks that caught fire among the rushes

 

A heated swarm escaped

The household in a frenzy as the maid

Had at that moment touched a goblet to her mistress’s lip

All is deathly calm now, the rooms unlit

A wine butt holds the offspring born

Turned inside-out

He has been shown this, cautiously, the lid pried loose

“Yes”—his host with timorous courtesies, had laid

His board with a fair day’s bounty

“Yes,” he’d said to the impresario, “if I might not tempt the devil

By showing gold, I would reward you for this kindness.

You deliver me, no less

In taking her from my house.”

 

Part Three

 

Copyright 2016 Stephanie Foster

 

 

 

 

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