From The Impresario (part nineteen)

Oil painting of sun rising over river and vineyards




The Impresario

Part Nineteen


She rubs her cheeks and neck, not for cold

If the night feels chill, to her this trial seems welcome

She wishes she might bear the world’s pain

Enduring all, if by some alchemy

He might bide in warmth and tender sleep

She slips onto her knees, and bowing over

Clenched hands, she prays, “Oh, God!

Why should I now receive this grace?

What is it that you want of me?”

She cannot feel a trace of blemished skin

Recalls how her good lady taught her this

“None in our world of sorrows, child, stands so low

She does not tower in fortune above a lesser.

Who never hope to touch a bishop’s robe,

may touch, by the Savior’s love, the hand of a blessèd sufferer.”

Yes, I have tried not to know what I know well

That combat’s issue must be one man’s death

Pierre’s face of irony so bitter, comes to her

She sees his willing heart noble beyond measure—

Understanding him at last

But it will not do


The vintner’s house offers no looking-glass

So by her shadow’s length at dawn she judges

The ruse will be enough, for that she must contrive

Is only to fall against a knife

And this, she tells herself, is not so much

Tortu speaks one of his rare words

She is aware, now wakeful, that some talk

had filled the hours of darkness.

“My daughter,” says the vintner, “I have one thing more

to confess. I had climbed the stairs, hoping to look upon your face.

You will forgive me, I found you on your knees.

Your servant tells me…”

“Ah, Tortu is my dear friend, Monsieur. I am myself a servant.”

“Tortu tells me I must ask, and so I do. What heartache is it troubles you?”

He has schooled her in her alphabet. Tortu’s hand traces in air

Behind their host where he cannot see, a letter P

By this to mean, do as Pierre would have you

“Love.” Regalus takes a chair.




Digital image of multiple cat faces














(2017, Stephanie Foster)




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