The Impresario (part twenty)
The hour demands chicanery
But Pierre’s mood weighs low his spirit
He perches on an oaken chest
Fine-carved in fingered leaves, knobbed round
With acorns…an uncomfortable seat
In a house of placid comforts
Too excellent withal for a humble man to contemplate
With ease, this room, but if his station
Cannot merit such, the dwelling is yet Gaspard’s.
Boniface, standing at the fire, grasping an iron heated by his stirring
Turns and speaks the thought Pierre had read.
“I ought this moment strike you dead. It would give me pleasure.”
“It would. But pains to your master. And as I can no longer
call you Sir, but varlet merely, it must also be…”
He had anticipated this, untroubled ducks the swing.
“…that while you may be much to him, you are
nothing to me.”
“Swine!” Boniface seizes him by the collar.
“I loved the man I served,” Pierre chokes out.
“And then I grew to hate him.” His enemy stops twisting, utters
A phrase beginning with the letter F.
“And why so? I will let you tell me one more lie.”
“A woman,” Pierre says.
He has been holding court, the wax-man
The aubergiste wrings hands, for this strange guest
Is never to be budged, it seems…and where
Are those coins he’d promised?
Hid, his host must think, within some fold of loathsome flesh.
That has been the wax-man’s sport with him
The villain roars a greeting, seeing three come nigh
One breaks and throws fond arms around his neck
(2017, Stephanie Foster)