Today's poem is by Kimberly Johnson


The king's in rags, the robe of his state unseamed
                                Like a flimsy
                Map over-and overfolded.

Finally silent the squabble and scold,
                                The family rabble
                Undaughtered by dagger,

By draught and a noose, and his poor fool hanged.
                                Never heart
                Had greater cause to quit. The quarto

Stretches Lear upon the world's tough rack
                                To sorrow's span
                And then undoes the button

Of his last breath. But the later draft
                                Engrafts a father's
                Fancy to his final: Look there,

Look there, as if some lively twitch yet flickered
                                Upon the lips
                Of the ever-illegible girl.

There at the verge of tragedy, say never,
                                Griever, five
                Times over like a fetish,

A fervor of faith that the folio knows
                                To deliver
                The one unrecoverable blow.

Come bereave, come bruise, but of all the wounds
                                We suffer, hope
                Will kill us every time.

Copyright © 2016 Kimberly Johnson All rights reserved
from New Orleans Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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