Tom, to give half of his full name,
which was Tom Quid,
did not live in a crater on the moon,
but sometimes he thought he did.
her full name at first opportunity I declare,
went to Gregory Gumption’s party,
and Tom Quid met her there.
“You look like one who does not know
what it means to prevaricate,
even if you looked it up in a dictionary,”
were the first words she said to him.
Tom raised his eye brows,
felt far out on the ocean
where only dolphins swim,
and wondered if what she said
was to be taken as a compliment or not,
and that was as close to Eliza as he ever got.
Years later, when she was crinkly, very old,
and invited friends for tea,
her favourite tale she often told
was of how she once went to
Gregory Gumption’s ghastly party
when she was sparkly and young,
and met there the man she ought to have married.
“Tom Quid was his name,” she would say.
“He was the only one who looked at me, directly,
and had naught but truth on his tongue.”
“Whatever happened to him?” they would ask.
“I do not know,” she would answer.
“But life can be dreadfully hard for those
who can see through the pearly lace
and even the metal mask.”