Shakespeare at Dawn

bite me morning
fresh dawn
ice in my bones
steam on the river
book heavy bag
slung from shoulder
verbose encumbrance
in a single bounded volume
Shakespeare’s complete works
frosted breath
leaky nose
hot under knit cap
sweat beneath the layers
burning up, wet
in winter’s attire
boiling in rime
shoes soaking through
all blind white light
sun-blasting hungover eyes
smoke burnt lungs
inhaling frozen air
the walk
the weight
the cold
the morning
all the usual terrors
suddenly compounded or forgotten
snarling derangement across the lawn
black dog
a wingless needle-toothed bat
bent on attack
paws punching snowy crust
wolf blood maddened by the season
the hunt on bipedal unfleet prey
unable to run
braced for it
no fight or flight choice
no to be or not to be
fight and be
be and fight
the killer makes her leap
bard-bearing bag swings
on the up arc
under handed
barrel into belly
a frantic gnashing squeal of animal
tumbles and sprawls
a dark angry cloud
cutting an indifferent expanse of white sky
it flees
proffering a parting bark
to where I stand
victorious and Elizabethan


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