Confidante: Fourth Wake
Travel, if that were the cause of it
A career of amputating limbs…a bent
Towards a ruthless, curious, yearning to experiment
Perhaps an inclination when he spoke
Of all humanity’s being one
To place himself outside of it
Howitt, the only friend I’d known
Wake’s voice dies at this.
A breath of sound
after a silence stirs the candle flame. I might believe
that in his voyages he’d run afoul,
that in some demon-haunted cave of the Malay,
he had left his soul behind
This Howitt seen, the very appetite of evil
Clothed in flesh.
I did not feel it then.
‘Wake, catch that animal!’
I had got a habit of obeying him.
The stalls were shuttered, yet these
Spits and moanings of the matted, bony
Crook-tailed pusses of the lanes and alleys
Came nightly to our ears. Some tender pity as though I
once had loved, slackened this time, my grip, and Howitt told me,
But he had a thing he’d meant to say.
‘You’ll be surprised, Wake, seeing this for yourself, one day.
How the force of life
Resists extinguishing. Say I’d cut you open…
How long might you live, do you suppose, each nerve
Being severed from the spine, one by one?’
(2017, Stephanie Foster)