The Motley Cow

She told you at dinner although
she had told this story before
It was a story of madness
and rage—of compassion and faith
and the reaches of her grief
after her dear father died                                  You
did not interrupt her to discuss
your own grief                                  Your own terrible
grief after the death of your own
dear father because this was in fact
her story and she was telling
it—and it was dinner                                  She
had told this story before                                  You
noticed that the third person at
the table had already heard this
story—and therefore could help her
tell it                              The third person could
remember some of the details for
her friend and alleviate the stress
of having to tell this story—again—
alone—to you—although it was
a meaningful story and one she
wished to tell again at dinner    
In the telling of this tragic
tale—a tale concerning misplaced affection—
intrigue and hate and the awful
stages of old age where a
man might become a monster not
only to his own wife but
also to improper objects of affection—
in this telling some of the
anger and pain split away and
was replaced by pleasure                                  In this
particular circumstance the teller had come
a long way that very day
from a place she no longer
loved—the place of the story—
to this place and this dinner
and this flicker and this fade
of these shadows thrown by those
candles as patrons settled payment and
absented themselves through the exact exit
that brought them into and through
the location of her story told

Caryl Pagel