A Letter from Ophelia

My dearest Laertes, my brother:

There is a pain when your head hits stone
A pain you feel echo through your skull
Dull metallic and it curdles teeth

O brother
Brother, he threw me down

Took me by the wrist and held me hard --
Look, little bruises
On this white belly of my arm five purple smudges

Then goes he to the length of all his arm ...

He knows brother, he knows they were there hiding
I was to meet him and they would hide to listen
A test -- he had been acting so strangely
I wanted to explain
But they were behind the curtain waiting ...
And he wasn't listening.
He only stared confused.

Bawd, brother, bawd.
He was right
He asked if I were honest, asked if I were fair
I could say nothing, brother. I could only repeat the questions.

O brother, you have never seen anything like his eyes
Round all white and staring
And I wasn't there
Some one, some thing that he did not recognize
And then scrutiny,
Looking me this creature up and down
What is it?
Who am I.

He tested me and I failed
He asked where my father was
Saw the curtain where they hid move and asked me
Staring at me, huge round eyes on the back of my neck, he asked me
All the world hangs in this minute, he asked me

And I said: "At home, my lord."

He is lost, brother
Before he saw the curtain move he was trying to run away
He looked deep and begged me to run
Asked me what he should do crawling between earth and heaven
Clinging, pleading never believe a man
As you said, and father said
Well, never believe a woman, my dear, reck your own rede --
We are false and arrant knaves too

He is screaming, brother, such as you have never seen him
lips curled over teeth, teeth flashing, pushing
veins on his neck brother the words are flying by and I can't catch them
I do not want to, I know them already
Nunnery nunnery slut and whore
Paintings, lispings sugar o'er the devil
I will not hear this this is not he I am not here,

He is ripping my hands from my ears, brother
He has my wrist ; shaking me throws me down
Raging at me marriage and mad, it hath made him mad, marriage
Spitting tight through his teeth
we will never be married we shall keep as we are
(but what are we?)

He has stopped.

He stares again those eyes
That horror, again as the first time, creeping
Looks me over again with the hell-horror crawling
Mouth open now, curling as if to a bitter taste
Curling but no sound comes

And everything is gelatin-slow and -deep
We are locked, the two of us; running away transfixed
Time slows to an excruciating mire
And we are caught as flies in resin
Forever living this irrevocable moment
This desire to escape, to retract
Begin again

In tears, he hoarsely pleads
"To a nunnery, go" and stumbles away
But I, of ladies most deject and wretched,
He is gone but I still can see those eyes
Huge white eyes vacantly burning behind my closed lids
Oh god brother, those eyes
Those unnatural eyes

They are calling me.
They are calling me -- O God, brother, the play is starting
I had forgotten about the play
I can't go back out there
Father heard this and the king --
Hamlet threw me down screaming and the king --

He will be there; brother, he will be there and what do I say?
How does your honor this many a day
Don't mind the bruises, they'll go away
I can't look at him.
I won't
I will sit where I can't be seen.

They are calling me again -- I must go.
Come home soon Laertes, please. I need you.


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