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Image by Ostap Senyuk


the madrigal, volume v

After Portia

by hannah siden

I was too young, perhaps

When I saw that production of Julius Caesar

I don’t remember
The language

The complexities of syntax and simile
The counting of syllables

I remember the silences

Portia in the kitchen, she
Waits for Brutus


The porch door left open sings

A soft creak
Into pitch black

Emptiness beyond her empty nest

I remember the argument
Not the words

Slam bounce of the screen door, he’s
Home then gone

She begs, says
I don’t remember what, but

I know the void she sees

The fire she tries to bring to the night

The theatre his world, entirely
Shrouded as she

Grasps at illusion, as he

Leaves her to the sounds of the crickets
Soft and dark and alone

I remember – the catch of her breath, and

The quiet swallow

Hannah is a poet, writer and filmmaker living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, BC). You're welcome to find her on Twitter @hannah_siden or at

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