Edgar Lee Masters: Ralph Rhodes (Spoon River Anthology)

ALL they said was true:
I wrecked my father’s bank with my loans
To dabble in wheat; but this was true—
I was buying wheat for him as well,
Who couldn’t margin the deal in his name
Because of his church relationship.
And while George Reece was serving his term
I chased the will-o-the-wisp of women
And the mockery of wine in New York.
It’s deathly to sicken of wine and women
When nothing else is left in life.
But suppose your head is gray, and bowed
On a table covered with acrid stubs
Of cigarettes and empty glasses,
And a knock is heard, and you know it’s the knock
So long drowned out by popping corks
And the pea-cock screams of demireps—
And you look up, and there’s your Theft,
Who waited until your head was gray,
And your heart skipped beats to say to you:
The game is ended. I’ve called for you,
Go out on Broadway and be run over,
They’ll ship you back to Spoon River.

NOTE: Demirep: “A woman of doubtful reputation or suspected character; an adventuress.” — Wiktionary

Demirep = Demireputation

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