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After Shakespeare

"Shakespeare's R&J," Folger Theater

Four Catholic schoolboys
act Juliet and her Romeo
in a dormitory's darkness --
a forbidden production
of wild headstrong leaps,
of shouts and shy caresses
jointly directed by hormones
and fear. The boys take all
the play's parts, acting now
Friar Lawrence, now Nurse,
now fierce Capulets,
rambunctious Montagues,
and the plot unspools into
wonder and argument.
It's Shakespeare played
with schoolboys' passion
till comes the kiss:
Thus from my lips, by
thine, my sin is purg'd.

Their friends, aghast,
tear boy from boy when
the spark between them
burns much too hot
to have been acted.

    March, 2000

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