The Pocket Hamlet on the Last Day of School
He asked me to hold out my hand,
my A-student gifting his English teacher
on the last day of school. Cold June rain
pelted smeared windows. Boxes gaped
for books. Under ragged bulletin boards
I dreamed of July reading, humming Summertime.
His bit of book filled my palm
like a mouse, a miniature
printing of Hamlet in a font
I could barely read, gilt title
rubbed off, musty leather
soft as fledgling hawks.
This Hamlet could float
in Ophelia’s apron pocket,
cram Yorick’s gaping jaw,
digest in the lining of my purse.
I accept talismans and crushes.
He hid under stringy blonde hair
he chewed in class, more hanger on
than talker. “You’re the only person
I know who reads Shakespeare.”
The blue smell of truth;
I’d read his journal.
He looked through sliding hair,
walked and closed the door
I’d left open for air.
Four weeks later I read his name
in the paper – a noose, an attic.
I dug his Hamlet from my box,
a mouse soft memory
not to be.
Tricia Knoll, an Oregon poet, has obsessions. Writing poetry every day, working to see them published in numerous journals, a chapbook out called Urban Wild, and a book coming out from Aldrich Press in spring of 2016, Ocean's Laughter. Others? Going to theater, running, tai chi, dancing, growing a native plant garden for pollinators and birds. Coming in doors to write more poetry. www.triciaknoll.com
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