Paul Christopher had been loved by two women who could not understand why he had stopped writing poetry. Cathy, his wife, imagined that some earlier girl had poisoned his gift. She became hysterical in bed, believing that she could draw the secret out of his body and into her own, as venom is sucked from a snakebite. Christopher did not try to tell her the truth; she had no right to know it and could not have understood it. Cathy wanted nothing except a poem about herself. She wanted to to watch their lovemaking in a sonnet. Christopher could not write it. She punished him with lovers and went back to America.
- From The Tears of Autumn by Charles McCarry