Overnight the town’s become

a mummers’ pageant: 

 

 

reenactments of my most ashamed privacy! 

 

Evidently, everyone’s been on to me all along. 

Rehearsing me!

 

Here’s the stuff of a cold sweat!

 

I skulk through the streets: 

each parades a different lurid recess

of my filthy mind,

 

around every corner yet another

of my noxious fantasies –

 

how??

HOW???

 

I scream . . . silently . . .

 

mustn’t call attention to myself

here where all attention’s on me!

 

 

But I’ve yet to hear my name bruited. 

No parchment scroll read out indicts me.

 

None of the performers heeds me more

than any other skulker in the shifty audience.

 

In this skit an old lecher – hand down

his pantaloons, ferreting – produces

a grimy card,

 

foists it on a pure young man too flustered

to spurn it.  Without being obvious

I try to see the name,

 

but it’s proffered, pocketed too quickly. 

 

How henceforth will I live among you?

© 2017 by Gregg Friedberg