Elizabeth Helen Barbato


and now to our darker purpose
"King Lear," Act I

You told me soiled sheets.
You told me scrub by candles.
You told me Bluebeard secrets
in a room of glassy coffins.

I grew up with a noose,
your crown, your eye.
You sold me half the land
to wink at Regan's thigh.
I palmed your hot grip.
I shouldered all the luggage.

I learned to call the crow,
my gammon, my prize.
I plucked a bower, acid.
I wove a cloak, grim-sided.
I bartered all my ghosts
for a word to make you mad.

I love my mackerel god,
this grief, this tear.
I took your unstaked scepter.
I gave you all my cancer.
I grew and screwed a tumor.
I wedged a husband nearer
to bear my sweet Cordelia.



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