Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Unless To Spy My Shadow in the Sun

    after watching an all-male production of Richard III

Pretend you’re Anne.
Pretend you are a man
who plays an Anne
who spits into the face
of Gloucester.
Can a man expand
what we know of Anne?
Take our standards—
failing the ideal, he
makes it more unreal
that Anne believes
a wasting grief has made her
beautiful.  Yet see how
he-as-she demands
our sympathy, proving
man understands
Anne’s suffering.
It’s hard to tell what to pity—
did Anne fall for
the love-struck man
that Richard played,
the version of herself
he said he saw,
or just for Richard?
And if we’re willing to believe
when a man plays a man
playing a man in love
with a man-as-Anne,
aren’t we, in some sense,
already Anne?
Doomed like she was
to love the damned
because we believe
in the man inside
the man, and that inside
every man’s an Anne.

Katy Didden

The Sewanee Review

Winter 2017

To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem