I’ve had enough of Thomas Cromwell

I’ve had enough of Thomas Cromwell
Mercedes Lawry

and the tick, tick, tick of his brain,
the constant swirl around him of his low
beginnings, snipes and sneers like pestering crows.
He is a chessmaster, moving women
back and forth in knotty schemes –
who marries who, who gains an ally, who breaches
a border, who bears a successor.
Whose family is silk and velvet,
whose family is common coal.

Thomas is elusive. He gets close
to the fire, sipping his wine,
outguessing the fickle king. Wolsey hums
in the background, his fall from grace
never out of mind. Anne Boleyn is stitched
into his maneuvers. The world stumbles on
despite tyrants and connivers.

In our fictions we dissect him, Lord Privy Seal,
a chancellor, a chamberlain. We try to understand
his place in shadow and in ice, make stories
about orbits of power—whispers, lies,
false gods, false wives. He’s on a tightrope,
where friends and foes trade roles, trade Thomas
like a poorly sewn leather ball
in a game gone on too long.

He is exhausting, Master Cromwell.
By the time he’s at the scaffold,
my sympathies are waning. His eyes are open,
the blade is sharp, his clever ways,

Mercedes Lawry has published widely including three chapbooks, short fiction and stories/poems for children. She’s been nominated for a Pushcart six times. Twitter-@mercwrites