If Ophelia

by Melanie Sirof

had hung her garlands
and the bough not broken
under the weight
of her madness

or rejected
her brother’s advice
about her virginity

had she refused
(or accepted) the nunnery
in place of the crossfire

allowed herself the pleasure
of Hamlet’s head
in her lap

had Ophelia stood up
in the brook
lived to tell her story
rather than having it told
by her lover’s mother

I would not be
tucking in bed corners
singing and drowning
singing and drowning

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