Poem for the Weekend: Tale of Two

Tale of Two

’I hope you care to be recalled to life?’ And the old answer:

‘I can’t say.’  C. Dickens, Tale of Two Cities

Monsieur Manette chained to your bench and tinkering.

I hoped I could recall you to life.

 

Lost love is a malingerer: blows cold air

into your garret.

Numb to all but the pattern you work

the days, the years of your confinement.

I am right outside your door.

 

In the best of times I conceived a plan of rescue.

Bribes to gain entry.

Axe to release you.

Fireman’s carry, over my shoulder

out to the city our carriage

awaits.

 

But revenge freezes keys in locks

my feet immobile, blocks of ice: I too am framed

in longing.

 

In the worst times, we keep busy.

You with your shoemaking,

me with my knitting.

A coded tale in purls.

 

Raise your white head, and read

what I have wrought:

No fire to warm you.

No papers for passage.

No guarantee of escape.

 

Stay Monsieur Doctor, in your cell:

A far, far better thing.

We are alike only in our sentence,

the tyrant of the past.

 

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