Sweet Ophelia

A response to Ophelia, by Sir John Everett Millais 

i have never thought it suited you,
the muted sacramentos and hickory.
you were always bright to me,
creams and lilacs, pastels.
your expression isn’t what i had pictured either:
eyes glassy, face cracked wide open,
wrists frozen in
rigor mortis. 

but then, i have never seen
a drowned body before. 

if pressed, i think i would say that i pictured the whole thing as
a peaceful affair, like a paper boat setting sail.
i would imagine you weren’t afraid,
i would imagine your father was waiting for you,
his stab wounds long since healed. 

later, after the curtain call,
i would imagine you were waiting for his murderer:
your hair dried, your dress no longer a
murderous weight,
all creams and lilacs, all light and love,
a seraphim. 

i would hope they both fall to their knees,
earnestly begging for your forgiveness. In life,
a pair of proud, powerful, fatally foolish men. i would hope
in death, that they hit the ground at the sight of you.
i would hope
but I can’t quite imagine it. 

my imagination gets a little stronger each day;
i will keep trying, for your sake.
it feels as though not a single soul
ever acted for your sake. 

the violets have all wilted, but
you can have these fresh ones if
you’ll wait with me in my garden
for them to grow.
Until then, i have
some rosemary for you. 

Sweet Ophelia,
you know what that’s for.