The Manciple’s Tale: The Children’s Version

The Manciple’s Tale: The Children’s Version
by Sandy Feinstein

The toddler next door could pronounce my husband’s name, and she did, regularly, “Neal,” “Neal home”? “Neal’s Shoes,” “Where Neal?” A plaintive sound, one syllable becoming two. When she saw him, she’d point, say “Neal” and run to him. He was old enough to be her grandfather.

One day, mother and child saw me, “Not Neal,” she frowned pointing.

“My student walked me home.”

“Not Neal,” she repeated unappeased.

The crow once talked. The then white bird said, “Cuckoo, cuckhold,”
to a jealous man.

Neal notes creatures in the field and sky where feathers and fur fade naturally.


Sandy Feinstein’s first prose poem appeared decades ago in Pacific Review and, depending on definition, Crab Creek Review. Her chapbook, Swimming to Syria, was published by Penumbra Press in 2021. Her sabbatical project this year is an experimental rewriting-rethinking of the Canterbury Tales.

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