Reading Hamlet

Utterly empty, utterly a source…
— Seamus Heaney

When the others were asleep she sometimes
in the silence took Hamlet from the shelf
and read aloud the scenes where he
renounced poor staggering Ophelia
or stalked the predawn hours, consumed,
wild to know who spilt his father’s blood,
and I would yawn and drift and nod
until she sent me off to bed. “One kiss,”
she’d say and I’d begrudge her, who’d shown
my father out the door, the dark play of
that between us. In the moon-mown hours
of her dying, only the poems she’d given me,
the boundless anguish of a prince. Never
nearer, those far-off castled nights.

A photo of Kathryn Hunt, author of "Reading Hamlet" and "Water Children"

Kathryn Hunt

Kathryn Hunt makes her home on the coast of the Salish Sea. Her poems have appeared in The Sun, Orion, Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, Radar, The Writer’s Almanac, The Missouri Review, and Narrative. Her collection of poems, Long Way Through Ruin, was published by Blue Begonia Press, and she has recently completed a second collection of poems, You Won’t Find It on a Map. She is the recipient of residencies and awards from Artists Trust, Ucross, and Hedgebrook. She’s worked as a waitress, shipscaler, short-order cook, bookseller, printer, food bank coordinator, filmmaker, and freelance writer.