The Woman

St. Elgiva’s Day, in the eighth year of King Richard II

The woman. Do I trust her? Can I? It is plain she is frightened, but is it of that damnable cloth or some other fear. Perhaps her lover whom she disowns causes her otherwise brave exterior to crumple. I cannot fathom her, nor any woman who would ill use such a husband, who clearly doted on her. Like the first Woman, she destroys that which she touches. And I fear her touch might destroy me. Eyes that fall sleepy with allure. A perfect mouth, small and soft like petals.

Am I such a fool as to fall into such a trap? Are not all men such fools?

There is not enough wine in the jug on the sill to solve this problem, and so I sit, watching the insignificant flames in my hearth lick at a mound of peat. Jack snoozes sitting upright on a stool. A shutter ticks against the sill with the wind. And I cannot get the sight of long lashes, pale skin, and red-gold hair from my fevered mind.