Not Wanted Here: Ninth Tattersby
Not Wanted Here
Awkward. He reminds himself he’d said it to the host
Not long ago. He’d meant Fiona. Tattersby. And the awkwardness was
Sex. Well, but…the guest says, temporizing. In this dense fog,
strolling with somnambulant, cautious footing, he feels the sheen of mist
like Lady Gimple’s atomizer. When he’d been her tutor,
she’d sprayed him with her Joy, making sticky the Chaucer, and smiling…laughing,
he must say, to see his eyes water. But what had been the notion…
It was this. That as the leaden pull of breakers, at the seaside, and the salt air,
make one feel not alone—but party to the wailing drowned,
he frets these spirits may have heard
No, he says aloud for their sake. I impute nothing. The French are different
And Miss Harvey. She, of course, is an American.
But, on the prudent side, I am not wanted here.
A ring shapes itself in parting obscurity
A gong-like train’s whistle
About that, where it seems to hit the scale
Shows teasing black, a dream of standing stones,
Else a funhouse mirage
Of Dougal’s boundary post, reduplicated.
Not his, of course, a borough feature
Meant to stand as sentinel, for public order
A speaking voice, he cannot fear it
And yet uncertain that he hears it
‘Squier, com neer, if it your wille be,
And sey somwhat of love; for, certes, ye
Connen theron as muche as any man.’
We haven’t met
You and I, my scholarly predecessor.
Pre-deceased, think of that!
Poor bugger’s heart snuffed like ash.
Reggie! Dear old intrepid Reggie, him, we shan’t forget!
Falsetto: I call, and my lover answers not.
Tattersby, chained on a spit, crisped to a cinder.
Inskip, daft prat! You’re for it now, lad!
Thou pair of captives, ye who live
And the hecatomb of my lady Lucille’s dead
Not Wanted Here
(2017, Stephanie Foster)