Surgeon to the Bowfin: Third Wake

Posted by ractrose on 23 Nov 2018 in Art, Poems

Charcoal and pastel drawing of man with menacing face



The Folly






Surgeon to the Bowfin


‘I am a respectable woman. Inspector, I still feel

myself at sixes and sevens. I believe I took the greater

shock today.’

‘Now, madam, I hope you’ve thought of it—

The assailant could well have cast aside those letters.’

She tells him she accepts it may be fancy. And yes [disappointedly]

there are Good Samaritans in the world. It is only in her heart

she feels that his hand must be—

‘But…why do I say he? I’ve told you though,

the assailant…as you put it…’ She sips her tea.

‘Was rather queer. I swear I know it, sir…that he looked them over.

Then posted them for spite.’

Inspector Samuels sighs. She’ll say her piece twice more.

So he expects. Respectable madam leaves her train.

She is in a temper.

‘The usual incompetence. Making some delay.’

And finds herself sister to a low, dishonoured jade.

He has in mind a figure…a man he might name Wake.

But as the superintendent has already put a second P.C. on,

he’ll hold off speaking to the neighbours. Samuels

distrusts the public taste, for making pickpocketing

turn murder. Keep the poor blighter safe.


I couldn’t keep the fellow from sidling up

He had taken lodgings in my house, this Howitt

Surgeon to the Bowfin, she

having her barnacles scraped in dry dock

‘I’ve been three times round the world, Wake.

I can tell you a thing or two. There are islands in the Indies…

I mean the Dutch Indies…where it’s nothing to see a chap

Tog himself in skirts. Very true

That travel makes one see men as they are.

You’ll consider me a confidante, I hope.’




Surgeon to the Bowfin
Charcoal and pastel drawing of small cat held by man's hand












(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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