Truth for the Victim: Fifth Wake
Truth for the Victim
Wake has become lost
Three summonings have failed to raise him
‘But,’ M. de Clieux says, ‘the case is odd. This woman,
…like them all,’ he laughs, ‘confuses me.
What is the dénouement?’
To the expert (that nobleman from Rennes)
in dead languages, the guest nods. ‘That we have yet to learn.
Some private notes of Mr. Samuels were found
Hid in the cabinet of a county magistrate…for what it’s worth,
your host,’ he adds, ‘is author of the pamphlet.
That account, I mean, of the buried crime in Bristol.
‘Yes.’ The host supplies an unforthcoming smile.
For modesty, or that he finds it irritating still.
‘Crothers wanted a full retelling…and I deem murder,
as a subject, uncompelling.’
‘Yet I suppose the Whitechapel victims will always be of interest.’
Souls in purgatory, or in limbo, as with other party guests,
Find the thrilling controversy cannot go unaddressed.
The voice that emerges from the chatter is a woman’s
She is not the Celt
She is not Wake’s other self, as de Clieux had doubted she might be
‘In a sort of way—Wake will tell you this as well—he and I
Have long been married.’
She…you do not know her name…she has one.
She patches a living for herself, as best she can.
Fear she can’t afford, that too, is for the well-to-do
All smiling men are equal in her sight, no chore demeans her
If it gets her lodging for the night
One in a cell weaves his tale of revenge
One eyeless corpse washed ashore from a wreck
One only known by an arm and a leg
One with a gun by himself in the woods
One gazes last on a view from a cliff
One bit by bit freezes stiff on the street
One in delirium strangles in bed
Dead, in their hundreds, without law or forgiveness
Will you demand it then
Truth for the victim
(copyright 2017 Stephanie Foster)