Rounding off evening now, it’s gun-and-knife time.
There in a lurid binding by my bed
Inspector So-and-So’s case of a lifetime,
sporting a bookmark, waits. The hapless dead,
for all the good it does, will have their dooms
hashed over on the way to apprehending
the cozeners who sent them to their tombs,
whose stratagems will fizzle by the ending.
Readying me for sleep year after year,
oddly sedating while they’re stimulating,
such books plant mazes bound to come out clear.
I break for sleep before elucidating
completes its course. I wish it not to end,
rate revelation high when in the offing.
Not a good bet, a skeptic would contend:
a lame finale well might leave me scoffing.
Risking one, I postpone the final pages.
I’ll have tomorrow’s new tale to embark on
once this one flings at sin its proper wages.
Turning the light out (or is it the dark on?),
I can drift off, trusting that one involved
tangle of mortal blows and miseries
will be unknotted, page by page, and solved,
unlike so many real-life mysteries.
Letting the night rest on my unshut eyes,
I guess at what last twist is like to come,
enlivening the mass of hows and whys
packing the chapter I have yet to plumb,
then turn to pray the Lord my soul to keep.
(It’s like a film-loop; each night I re-run it.)
Does sleep, each night, rehearse unending sleep?
Enigmas like that beat the best whodunit.
Robert B. Shaw
Also by Robert B. Shaw (see all)
- Another Mystery - March 2, 2023
- Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man - October 30, 2021
- A Cloud Shadow - May 30, 2021