"Hamlet: Poem Unlimited"
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~ Ophelia ~

There comes a knock at my door.
Is no one asleep tonight?
I have a strange, desperate thought that when the sun sank tonight,
it was extinguished,
and we shall all stagger through endless night now,
shapeless, forlorn;
in waiting for a dawn that will never come.
It is my father at the door, perhaps,
or perhaps even Hamlet,
a thought which sends my heart wildly beating,
though I am sick of such a reaction in my body when I think of him.
My loneliness goes clattering away, but instead of relief,
I feel irritation.
What good, after all, is likely to follow a midnight knock?
“Lady Ophelia, we are sorry to waken you.”
At first the voice that penetrates the door is unknown to me.
But then, a second voice all but echoes:
“My lady, our apologies for disturbing you.”
It is Hamlet’s former schoolfellows.
Since they arrived I have not passed two words with them.
“What is it?” I raise my voice to reply.
“Lady Ophelia, may we enter?”
I rise from my writing desk and go to the door,
opening it to look upon anxious faces,
trying to peer around me into the room.
What, more dumb-show, tardy epilogue
To tonight’s morbid play?
I have no patience for this.
“What do you want?” I ask.
“Lady Ophelia,” one of them speaks,
Rosencrantz or Guildenstern, I cannot tell them apart,
“is my lord Hamlet here?”
“Why should he be here?”  I snap,
thinking though, of many nights past,
where here indeed he was.
“The king, our king, demands his presence.”
“Demands?” This is insufferable.
“Even if you speak for the king in truth,
how should it be that the likes of you
demand ought from the Prince of Denmark?”
The man screws his face tight,
as if weighing an impudent answer.
I feel then they merit not even hate,
but simply scorn.
“Tell the king,” I say, “if he asks, that I do not know
where his nephew, Denmark’s son, might be.”
“He’ll tell you soon enough, I think,
what your Prince has done.”
So, now comes some petty spite.
“The Prince has your father slain.”
I stare…and stare,
while they bow, and leave my door.