The Impresario: an alphabet (part twenty-two)

 

 

Part Twenty-Two

 

Pierre signs to his three companions, palm to palm

Closes this L like a trap door shutting on

A bird in hand…or tiger by the tail

They know their roles

The wax-man can grow no paler,

but glowers and drops his jaw

The Dauphin returns a thin, ironic smile

While Madame tosses her locks and says

“I refuse to be made afraid…garçon,”

Pierre shrugs. “I congratulate you.”

Boniface, as he steals upon them,

Finds the seer’s manner lofty,

Cold…he feels a thrill, his pride

Validated by this curtain raised

This unguarded show of truth

The rogue were wont to hide

He notes the Dauphin’s chin tremble

“Can we not all sup together?” Boniface enquires

Sweet-voiced

Pierre, for too long, holds himself

Arrested, back turned, but then smiles round

A smile Boniface deems unctuous and sly

“I dreamt…yes, let us sit.” Pierre sweeps clear the bench

“The demon that informs me shows me tokens.

A collar of pearls consumed by flame. A purse of gold

Lodged fast at the bottom of a well. A velvet cape in

Early versionmarten’s fur trimmed, seen to cradle a death’s head’s grin.”

“And wisely, you advised your friends, to give these treasures over.”

An indifferent gesture of the hand. “No, like you

They scorn my humble castings. Neither will you, Boniface,

Care to know it, that two fortunes wait you,

Joy or lamentation, as you choose.”

Madame rises in a temper, fingering her jewels

“Worm! Before the witness of us all, and still

You ply your lying, swindling spiel!”

No sooner has she crossed before the hearth

Her son approaches, bent, to lay upon her shoulders

A cloak of fine-spun woolen stuff, when…tout à coup!

All eyes are blinded by a flash, a puff of smoke

A vile, sulphurous odor drives them choking to their feet

The yeoman’s haunted face they see, the empty cloak he holds

And on the floor a tiny shrunken skull, a pile of ash

And pearls

 


 

Part Twenty-Three

 

(copyright 2017, Stephanie Foster)

 

 

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