• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 05

A water cure

Her lace parasol soft-shades the boat;
The gentleman of leisure trails his coat.
He thinks himself the cure, the antidote

To summer’s tedium, the trap of her days,
Their monotone white heat, their sad blaze
Of hours dispatched in various small ways.

Finger to forearm, she cools a limb during
His languid lecture on some theme so boring
That her screaming urge, she senses, is returning –

But forth he bores. Braced to make some response,
She’s dipped a hand for coolness. The truth shocks:
It’s him she’s doomed to marry. (Him she mocks

When he’s not there, and even to his face.
Not that he sees, of course. It’s such a waste.)
Edwardian fingers dream, submerged in space,

Doomed explorers of a domestic deep.
Minutes crawl; perfunctory willows weep.
The oars yank in time to a loving speech.

He thinks himself the cure, the antidote:
A fellow well equipped with hat and coat.
She spreads her hand. The future fills the boat.