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. . . for charitable prayers/ Shards, flints and pebbles should be thrown on her. . . .

                                                     Hamlet: Act 5, Scene 1

Ophelia, lodged,
fictive and unsanctified
in her Danish dirt
still waits for the last
trumpet to blow her alive
again, her scattered

pearls and pebbles grim-
rumbling shame on her father’s
broken house wherein
a damp and girlish
ghost abides. The rain
is hard enough for

even her to bear,
spattering like spit across
the cobbles of made-
up-and-damned that stop
her soul like winecorks. It chops
the glassy stream to
sky and gall and makes
the shroud cling to her fallow
flesh like a slip soaked
sheer with longing. In
the end our dreams undo us
all, and sweet garlands

of crow-flowers scent
the currents of our desires
as they ease us toward
the sea. We weight
our pockets with shards and sink
into gratitudes

of water gone still
above our drowning, where fish
kiss our wounds in rites
of joy and blackflies
kneel to murmur to us their
charitable prayers.

John Blair has published three books of poetry, Playful Song Called Beautiful (winner of the Iowa Poetry Award, published Spring of 2016), The Occasions of Paradise (U. Tampa Press, 2012) and The Green Girls (LSU Press/Pleiades Press 2003). He directs the undergraduate creative writing program at Texas State University.

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