Forgotten High School Lesson Relearned
High-school-mandated Elizabethan slasher play,
a lousy father who raised an eye-plucking daughter,
and gave another daughter a name that to me sounded like gonorrhea.
Old King Lear, led by a fool, and all of them talked funny.
I giggled in the back row and hid my face behind the textbook.
I got a D-minus on the unit test.
So what? I passed
then quickly forgot that incomprehensible play.
But lately I've been recalling that third daughter, Cordelia.
How the broken old king held a mirror to her lips,
a mirror sterile of her living breath.
Though I have no daughters and need no fool to call me fool,
now each morning in my mirror
I see what Lear saw in Shakespeare's looking glass
and even further.
Yes, friends betray and I grow old.
But my warm breath still fogs the cold glass.
the mist my Cordelia is not yet dead.