~ Ophelia ~

Look at him.
How he stands before his mother
and new father,
wishing, I think
that the darkness in his heart
would burst out over them
as a mighty eclipse.
I make up my mind there and then
to snatch him away.
I care not if it makes
for a spectacle most public.
I am sick to death of propriety;
I would that we might seal our pact
as fierce outsiders to this company.
Give me a dagger’s point
and I’ll score my palm,
though every lady about me
scream and faint
at such audacious passion.
That crimsoned palm I’d offer to him
as they say barbarians seal their bond:
blood to blood.
But I take one step
and find myself hemmed;
my father stands before me,
my brother to the side.
What do they see in my eyes?
A madness?
If so, they would forestall it
and put a check, as they always have
on the side of me that hungers
to burst all prisons.
Laertes begins to speak
in calm and caring tones,
as he knows this has soothed me
in the past.
His voice, which I cannot doubt
is couched in love, cautions me,
cautions me.
He speaks of Hamlet’s love
as an aristocrat’s trifle;
transitory as early violets,
sweet but impermanent.
The perfume of a minute.
Should not my own brother know me?
The wild edges that I ache to traverse
he would pull me back from;
he would stand as a watchman to my heart.
While instead I would aim
my narrowed gaze
on every steep and thorny way to heaven.
But now my father adds his counsel,
and it is all one with Laertes’.
I might speak of honorable vows
offered in the dark of night,
but to what end?
Father will counter with words
like fad and show;
birds prized as game,
and negotiations of a poor surrender.
So my loving family
would strangle me in the threads
of pious care and earnest protection.
And while I am so engaged,
the revel around us
has swirled like a river torrent
and reshaped itself.
The Queen and new King
have taken their leave;
gone to nuptial bed perhaps,
while if I could right now,
I would shape a midnight mirror
to such coupling,
in secret embrace with Denmark’s son.
But Hamlet has slipped his tether;
he too has left me.
No bonding mark of scarlet
to give our joined palms.
I think the colors of truth
are red and black:
blood and night.
My brother and father cannot take me
to where those aching hues are waiting.
My family is a thing of words,
cloying and buzzing.
Hamlet, Hamlet.
Words between us are locks and keys,
used only to go beyond
into sacred silence.