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after sir john everett millais' ophelia (1851-52)

Poor lady in the lush reeds,

Drifting like a common recyclable,

Mouth a slack O! 

What good can her gilded shroud perform now. 


Someone has killed this young maid’s wit,

Snapped her mind like a branch underfoot.

Hysteria adored, then punished. 


But, at least, her fate is to float

amongst the flowers. Look! 

She has her rosemary, her panises, 

A sprig of fennel, a bouquet of columbines,

Daisies, and, of course, rue.


And she blooms before us 

In a gilded frame

Confined in our endless reverie.  


Pray you, love, remember. 

There is madness for you,

And madness for me. 

It refuses to wither away.

as published in the october hill contest issue fall 2018

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