A Nine-Candle Evening

poem by josiah r. leet

“bred of disdain, this foundling nuance…”

It is as though some initiate

stumbled awkward inlike

here to address this vitriol,

a venom sulk, like embarrassment.

Wet behind the years

maturation threw one for a loop;

some damp history yearns

for saturation, a soaking simple dupe.

Tea in this cup

like some bedside opera glass

a brewing, magnified touch

steeped in a bungling upper class.

Rather sweaty palms might betray

this hesitant novice yet to speak;

until spoken to he awaits the fray

of conversation fearing his voice too meek.

How tedious the Governor's breezy prattle

ever artful his lesser minions contrive

a shred of attention in this weasels' battle

to advance ones' own opinion is to survive.

It has been said that there is nothing

quite like utter, dread silence

to make even the strongest of men shrink;

but a particular quietude was soon evident.

A welcome lull thus becalms the gale,

the novitiate clears his anxious throat;

but suddenly he bursts forth, a bolder wind in his sails

and barks from his trousers a vaporous boast.

In that instant the dour note had struck

there followed a damning soundless moment

as the entire starched still-life became stuck

in the vortex of this nasty gaseous omen.

The mortified youth weighed the remote chance

of outright escape or a brisk walk

against the probability that his yet smouldering pants

may have caused this painful lapse of talk.

Multiple mega-eons seemed to elapse

and the eolian stench by then was withering;

a composureless call for a match

brought about the spectacle of many men fidgeting.

A senator was first with the tinder remedy

cigars were awkwardly re-lit without delay;

although these proceedings bore no small levity

not a soul had as yet even a syllable to say.

The young innocent trembling under the weight

of his stiff upper-lip finally braved the quiet;

he managed to look straight upon this muted array

as though 'twas not he who caused such foul riot.

The ever-genteel assembly prepared to ignore

this obvious guilt and resume their idle chatting;

when at last he spoke and demurely implored

“Well…rather decent weather we're having?…”

—Josiah R. Leet