I turn from him again, and when he speaks,
his voice has softened passion into care.
'You may not live to see it, Kit, it's true.
But come it will. We'll leave too many clues.
Not least the silence of the Stratford man whose hands
are legally bound. He will not claim the plays,
and no one will ever testify he wrote.
When all who were involved are safely dead ---'
Your safety is all our care.'
And I have stopped
his speech, it seems. I turn, and see a tear.
'Go on,' I say, more gently. 'When we're dead?'
'It will not be a hundred years, I swear,
before intelligence will sift the truth
and you will be restored your every work;
all credit to your name, and every play
and poem yours again.'
'I'll wait that long
if we're eternal.' I reach for the wine
that's never far away.
'Then believe we are,
and decades just a blink when we are souls.'
He is so beautiful. 'That is the plan?
This plan's as long as the sort that built cathedrals.'
'And they were built,' he says. 'And are admired.'
'And you believe I'll be admired too?'
'Your friends will see to it.'
I touch his face.
A frisson. A shiver. He looks to the door
as if his sister might walk in and see
our tenderness. I say, 'It's market day.'
A kiss as juicy as the purple cherries
my wife is haggling for.
'Oh, Kit,' he breathes.
'I'd forgotten who you were.'
'Yes. So had I.'
[from The Mermaid Club]