September 2001

Ophelia knows what it feels like, but you don't do you?
Fathers die when love blooms
intensely like the insanity
of a bird of paradise all orange crowned and pointing.

She escapes to her herb garden
the only place isolation is allowed away from
the Panopticon                                the male gaze,
surveillance by the servile.

Her engagement apparent as she holds pruning shears in one hand,
rosemary for remembrance in the other. Snips and tends pansy faces,
listens and hears his voice                          {or is it from her own chorus of voices?}
        "is that you?" she asks,
and hears him in drops of rain on a thousand leaves.

Ophelia stands in headwaters                      her hips buoy left and right
as though being bumped by exiting train passengers.
Rubber gaiters slick and seal-like, trout swim beneath
her reflected face                                 a dark shape above.
Prisms slick on silver skin swimming in thought-streams                      disappear
before the brain registers the image, an imprint here: not reality
this seeing and not seeing. Many wonders are beyond our philosophy.
Fish beyond reach.

Rapids bubble gray tracers               shadows of bears
stare at her back; she can feel them watching her,
       "he cannot save me,"
       she thinks in the gloam.

The water lifts her and she floats and smiles
and says:
                                          "he still loves me,"
to no one at all;
except the cedars
who give many their ear
but to no one their voice.