40,000 Brothers

  Hamlet Poem
40,000 brothers could not…
                                             make up [the sum of my love]”
                 When Ophelia’s mind had slipped its frail tether,
and her last hope was shot to smithereens,
and she’d accepted her best offer: Death
(the only voice to stop her was the queen’s),
the men who’d deserted her took over,
seizing centerstage, rioting about
the fresh-cut grave, stopping short a service
whose propriety was already in doubt
(the Church disapproved), airing their grief:
“My love is greater, purer, deeper, more!”
roared Hamlet, hyperbole straining belief:
If that were true, why now and not before?
How wrong we are, how foolish, to compete
in suffering – there’s no merit to it or onus.
Still, no sidewalk can remember my feet
where you live. Where I live, the stones know us.

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