Overnight the town’s become
a mummers’ pageant:
reenactments of my most ashamed privacy!
Evidently, everyone’s been on to me all along.
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 –
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?