Mercutio as Smoke
To be and be and be and be and be. My cousin and I go to the shore, go
to the Kwik shop, get two glass bottles of Coke and lay in the sand.
What do you want to be when we grow up, says he. To be thee. He touches
the nape of my neck, my hair. We kiss for practice but he loves a girl somewhere.
If love be rough with you, be rough with love, I say. Some fortune, he says,
points up, some sky up there.
Tybalt Prince of Cats as Spit
Sever it. I practice my teeth in a mirror or any black window. I wear my name
like a sheriff. Spend all day at the arcade playing Mortal Kombat in the purple
lights. Finish him, says the ringmaster, and I do.
Mercutio as Fire
To light up, alight, lit. I am writing a book of jokes about Death. Each visits me
in sleep and I transcribe the subtle twist as one fashions a shank. I fear it splits
me, shames. I concede to be an anxious rattle, no more. The moment a match
strikes—my constant state. So fuck it, go electric. I whisper to Mab and
she whispers to me, Transcribe. My cousin appears in the likeness of a sigh.
He says I speak of nothing.
Sophie Klahr’s poetry, essays and reviews are found in Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, The Rumpus, Connotation Press, and Sycamore Review, among others. Her collaborative projects include creating scenic texts with the contemporary dance theatre influxdance. She is the poetry editor of Gigantic Sequins, and the author of the chapbook “_______ Versus Recovery” (Pilot Books). She lives in California.
Photo by Anthony Waters, used by permission. See more of his work on DeviantArt or contact him directly at wateryant [at] gmail.com