David Lewis Paget (22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)
It started off with disturbing dreams,
I tossed and turned in the night,
Waking with half-remembered scenes
But nothing that felt quite right,
My wife got irritable by and by
And slept in another room,
‘You wake me with all your thrashing about,
I need my sleep to bloom.'
We'd only been married a month or so
The second time round for both,
I was divorced, but her husband died
A year after taking the oath,
Our eyes had met in a party gloom
All singles, looking for love,
And when we kissed in that darkened room
It was lightning, from above.
It was all too rushed, I can see that now,
We didn't give us a chance,
No time to see if our friendship grew,
We led each other a dance,
I bought a ring in the seventh week
We married the following day,
She often said as the months wore on
We shouldn't have done it that way.
I asked her about her husband once
But she snapped, shut up like a clam,
She said that he died of a heart attack
But he wasn't much of a man.
She said she didn't like talking, that
It brought back too many tears,
But some of the scenes I dreamt about
Have stayed with me now, for years.
I noticed she started watching me
When I sat collating my stamps,
She did it so surreptitiously,
Then I started with stomach cramps.
I said, ‘Melissa, I don't feel well
Are you sure that the fish was fresh? '
She said, ‘Well I ate the same fish too,
Does it look as if I'm distressed? '
My wife was there in the dreams I had
But the man there wasn't me,
The eyes I used had belonged to Brad
And I wondered, who was he?
Melissa glared at the man I was
As she poured the table wine,
She wasn't the woman I'd married then,
But one from a former time.
I raised the glass and was going to drink
When he knocked it out of my hand,
It spilled all over the tablecloth
And Melissa rose, to stand.
She stormed off back to the kitchen and
That's when the dream would end,
I seemed to remember a voice that said:
‘Be careful now, my friend! '
The cramps came back and they got much worse
So I went to have some tests,
‘Probably just some gastro, ' said
The Doc, ‘Well that's my guess! '
The third time that I ventured to go
He cut a lock from my hair,
‘Whatever it is, we'll find it now
If there's really anything there.'
Melissa cooked us a roast that night
And set out some Chardonnay,
She was more into an amber wine
And opened some old Tokay,
The voice rang loud in my head once more,
‘Beware of the grapes of wrath! '
I tipped my wine on a native plant
And said that I'd had enough.
I thought of the Life Insurance that
Melissa insisted we take,
A couple of hundred thousand each
And the thought had made me quake.
I knew now how she had poisoned him,
Her husband, known as ‘Brad',
The arsenic out in the potting shed
That I hadn't known we had.
She died while having convulsions when
Sipping a coke and ice,
I sat and watched through the TV ads,
I know that it wasn't nice,
But the Doctor said that the arsenic
He found in my lock of hair,
Pointed the finger, straight at her,
And said I was lucky there.
She must have made a mistake with it,
He said, and loaded the Coke,
Though I never drink the stuff myself
I'd not disabuse the bloke.
I'm off to the Riviera when
The insurance money's through,
And Melissa, well, they're hushing it up,
And Brad - he's coming too!
28 March 2013
Comments about this poem (Rank Poison by David Lewis Paget )
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