Hamlet

sugar-skull-bones-6

eats Danish pastries in a dirty caff.
Alone, he dabs at the flakes
with a licked finger,
and swallowing from a teacup
his mother tuts in her bloodstained
dress, a blood-diamond marking
her chest, a memorial,
her fat and priceless loss.

The doorbell tolls their entrance.
There are shadows queuing here–
shadows, perhaps, of rivals
or restless ghosts or people trying to cope
like he does, him with his river-wet
lover bending and raving,
scrying her own reflection
for her daddy’s eye. Trailing lobelias,
wildflower white of the moon
in all its peaceful lunacy.
Her dull skull cratered with grief.

And boy, does he know grief,
does he understand,
but he doesn’t go mad like that–
not he, no, not some
shameful disgrace, unbrained,
pupils beetling his lost head.
No ravings, no mindless chatter.
He addresses his longest friend
sitting at his side, poor Yorick.
The finest skull you did see.
He can vouch for Hamlet,
he’s not mad. He’s not cracking.
Listen. His dead jaw drops,
spits out a grub
and he’s trying to say,
not mad no, he’s talking to me.

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