Hilary S. Jacqmin

The Greenwood


            Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
              Thou art not so unkind
                      As man's ingratitude.
                              —William Shakespeare, As You Like It

As Rosencrantz our junior year,
you traded A-line skirts for slacks,
slipped off your tea rose tights and sheer
silk cami, tied loose tendrils back.
Beneath the footlights' green leaf smear,

you'd flush, a crushed, half-wild rose;
your hair a tangled crown of thorns;
rose cut, despite your rakish clothes.
Small wonder Hamlet wavered, torn
about that missive. Still, he chose

to send it, sealed, skulls sketched along
the edge—memento mori, death's
bleached souvenirs. Ophelia's song,
her herbal litany and breath-
less suicide, seemed to belong

to byzantine, mosaic states.
We lived in trellised Shaker Heights.
Our homes were Tudor gray. Our fates,
spun out through Clotho's endless night,
gleamed: green, suburban, bantamweight.

They found you in December, rolled
inside a Chinese rug. You had
been dead for weeks: your corpse slabbed, cold
as winter and rough weather, clad
in rosebud Mary Janes, a gold

cross, bent. Your eyes, burnt brambles, stared.
We dreamt that you might rise again,
like ice storm roses given care,
earth, sun, shocked rain—but death's domain
beat back that kingdom of the air.

                                            For Emily