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Danish Requiem

Katherine Nelson

Danish Requiem

To be or not to be / the crumbler of the cornerstone / that is the question

in the boughs of a backroads cemetery. Epitaph dripping with dew

or the sky’s tears and the single rose in bloom ’til November is now

drowning / a woman’s back bobs against the surface of Oresund

saltwaters. Hear me: though this be madness, yet there is method

in’t. Last year this time the joys of Vitamin D leeched from our skin and the youthful

lime reversed into icy paint on the leaves / in the canvas of my mind I portrayed

the Reaper as mere fantasy / the ghost of Kronberg Slot’s king washed into oblivion

by those and their Viking blood so roiling with temptation. It takes a destined

perpetrator to commit an atrocity without a weapon / to whirl the rationale of reason /

when I lose myself in the remnants of photo galleries and gifted jewelry I see Hamlet

choking on the carpetwalk. I must be cruel only to be kind / my first poem was of hate

or a hereafter of the life we left / thus bad begins, and worse remains behind /

the bustling of Copenhagen can forgive though what I wouldn’t give to absorb that noble

lady’s voice before water clogged her throat. She is a green girl / was a greedy girl / yet

the liquid of nature preserves her. If I am Hamlet / rotten boar and brute / can I call you Ophelia?


KATIE NELSON is the author of the short story collection, Parties All Around, and the recipient of several writing awards. Her works have been recognized by Pigeon Review and the Bridport Prize among others. Katie is currently a high school senior with intentions of studying creative writing in college.

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