TV Culture: Mr. Prosecutor (poem)

Posted by ractrose on 29 Jul 2021 in Art, Poems

Oil painting of silhouetted man and woman near bed




Mr. Prosecutor


The witness/killer weeps

He is surprised…bushwhacked by a tactic

“Mother doesn’t care.”

Mother, he tells the doctor, is just outside in her rose garden

Often since Papa died I find her staring at the fountain

He calls to her from the patio, apologizes, she has gone upstairs

“She’s having one of those spells. You’ve missed her, I’m afraid.”

Dr. Weber hoists his bag. “I’ll go up to her.”

Round-eyed he backs away

But David says, “No, no, it’s nothing, this weakness. But you mustn’t

disturb Mother.”

The stealthy grey-haired housekeeper is seen

Dusting the spindle-legged table in the foyer

As cousin Margot grasps the telephone, it stops ringing

Mrs. Nevers ushered to the witness stand

Admits she felt she must return from her disgrace

And look after her son. I could not disabuse him, Mr. Prosecutor

It seemed dangerous to do so. I began to keep house for him

That the townsfolk trusted the science teacher seems odd, but his calling’s

eccentricity had been allowed

Their feint and dodge in black and white opens the drama, as he eats his

apple pie and drinks his milk at

Friendly Maude McKinley’s lunch counter

An invitee, his cousin Margot left bankrupt by divorce

Prompted in this strange house, with magazines laid open on her bedspread,

and a photo of a young and smiling David

She knows it was not on the vanity the day she was shown to

This room

She finds honeyed tea on a tray with homemade candies, divinity and fudge

Agnes Nevers left them, she can only suppose

She sleeps in her chair, a pre-Raphaelite poem slides from her lap to the


This does not wake her

She dreams of David, neatly groomed, without

the lock of silvered hair that falls over his brow

Suited, asking her by gesture for a dance

His broad ivy league forehead seems in fantasy restrained

A normal marriageable man, though speaking in an accent

typified by theatre; for television playhouses of the day

preferred such roles essayed by the stage trained

Who knew the cultivated little man now cringing on the stand

heard voices and saw apparitions. Dr. Weber knew

Perhaps you would be healthier with a daily cup of cocoa-malt

Sing along. No more laundry done with a block of soap

Sponge your stains away

Rather than the thing you like we’re going to have mine

Rinse in hot the doubted house its cache of weapons left in sight

Gangs of rowdies need this reputation

For winning by a landslide in the coming insurrection




Mr. Prosecutor
Pastiche of oil painting woman's face and pastel drawing 1980s Mustang

What’s That Thing
This Preserve
















(2016, Stephanie Foster)