The Farmer’s Wife (one)

Mathilda Arthur, you have fallen far behind Chair pulled near the gramophone, needles busy Nellie Melba singing God save the king Seems busy, knitting…quiets the mind But that’s not doing your chores, girl Get out. Get out now. His pigeons, them he treasures so, and the county show coming and the autumn manuring… I pulled […]

The Impresario Part Fourteen

“Now you recall I had been telling you How the solicitations of my own Gaspard Were not to be refused…I, most readily Admitted everything, called down, mon frère Heaven’s wrath on my own head Did I omit a word or tell a lie For as against the scaffold, this smiting seemed fair bargain Alas, Our […]

Calmacott’s Brother (two)

  Author’s note: This gentleman turned up in the background of my first illustration for Calmacott’s Brother, so I’m letting him have his moment. It was full dark by that time We were not prisoners, only crippled men Most, pleased enough to find their beds, but I— “Lieutenant, you’re well recovered,” the doctor said That […]

The Big Pants (part four)

“Luisa, you said…” Jackie froze here, and Luisa, without much to go on for answering, smiled instead and gave Jackie a prompting nod. “You said you lived in a camper.” “Well, we do. It’s funny.” She’d been going to explain this, how it was funny, but Jackie had then rushed on. “But, I mean…I’m sorry…it’s […]

The Impresario Part Thirteen

Pierre, rocking back, raises his flask with a solemn, studied lack Of impudence (although the features of his face tend against him) The baron, he notes, has an arrogant flare of nostril and curl of upper lip, yet He does not fully sneer in spurning this. Saying merely, “Do your best. I have set the […]

Calmacott’s Brother (one)

Maybe we were not fit Not fit to live nor fit to die A sower’s superfluity made as the parable’s seed An abortion or a sturdy weed…howsoever Heaven wills it Struck wherever we might fall So the waters close To see you slumped there in your seat Grown peevish in your temper Grown thinning at […]

The Impresario Part Twelve

The prisoner’s advocate begins to feel himself followed It seems to him a certainty the footpad is that fellow Who gives his name in fraudulent humility as Pierre “Only that.” And loiters round the guardhouse. The advocate turns on a heel, making the jailer’s victualer Behind him stagger, dropping the joint Wrenched from a boiling carcass, […]

The Big Pants (part three)

It made sense. Even at about the time he’d had his third ear infection, there’d been stuff out there, some public debate, as Perry recalled, about overtreatment. He’d been a fat kid by the sixth grade—not chubby, but to his own mind, gross—struggling on stairs, goggled at with exasperation by adults, who seemed to think […]

The Folly

I appreciate I’ve been not working hard I’ve been accused of haunting without spirit Always a proper subject at a dinner Always a diner eager to try himself Sorrowing eyes that by mid-course will make themselves Felt in the bones, couched in marbles in stucco “Ugly as sin,” smiles the host. “An authentic Victorian folly.” […]

The Impresario Part Eleven

This fate invoked, Pierre avoids reprisal Lays hand on Tortu’s arm in sad rapport Doing so he slips aside and she Her face washed clean of paint, still washed in tears Yet seen through penitent’s eyes become unblemished Returns to him not knowing by what fault She has offended, and she does not care The […]