And how can it be, oh my beloved Literati, that one so frivolous as thine own Editor-in-Chief (that tis eternally moi) could seduce from the ether of cyberspace a story of such poetic grandeur?
Pleased to say that Shakespeare has an heiress, and though he be the bard, the heiress to the quill and ink and parchment be the beard. Tiffany Beard, to be precise. She pens by the name Tiffany Monique, but we love her anyway.
Tiffany enters our contest in honor of Peggy Dobbs with this offering, preceded by this explanation…What If Juliette had lived?
Her email to me, followed by an act that is hard to swallow–oops! I mean FOLLOW!
This was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday.”
But Biding, I Live Beyond My Own Love
by Tiffany Monique
Juliet rouses half-conscious over Romeo. She is bleeding from her stab wound and in great pain.
My lover dead and nothing shall be done
And I, a widow and failed suicide;
My hour of twilight and I see no fault.
T’was love that moved me thus; and thus I move
With this my life’s blood spilt, still flowing life
Juliet pulls out the dagger. It falls on Romeo’s body. She caresses his face with her bloody hand.
My budding blossom, corrupt and fading,
Or perhaps, now wakening to a truth.
I may not die here. I could live for him.
My life’s blood, poisoned with this rank knowledge
That neither life nor death will end my love,
And this pain as sweet as it is morbid.
My Romeo is no more. Oh cruel fate!
The warp and weft of loss innocences
Cast us down from joy; laughing whilst we died.
Our marriage bed thus turned into a grave,
And yet here I lay cast back from Hades;
Rejected both by life and death am I–
To look upon the lips now cold to me
The arms with haste retreat away from me
Both sepulcher and marriage bed denied.
She takes his hand.
Let me make of him a sweet eulogy–
Him who holds my heart but now not my hand;
For Romeo. Only for Romeo.
Do I live or die or reach or rest here?
My heart betwixt my fingers slipping sand
In spite of my death. I can feel my life.
Reason with me now why the dagger sings
And why the pain hums as I bleed away;
The sentence LIFE for the fair Juliet
Even as Romeo will don his wings.
More fool I to sit here as the crone would.
No more young maiden; never mother be.
My husband in dream and reality.
On our most hidden wedding night he came
And planted his root, but it did not seed.
And now his dagger. And again my blood
No, I cannot live. To whom do I plead?
Oh nurse! Apothecary! Kind Friar!
My voice a whispered prayer to my own self–
Survive to lie here crying and lonely.
No charm to move me and I will not go!
Juliet tries to take the dagger but is too weak and drops it to the ground.
My tortured treasure here with Romeo.
Ah! Pain renews me. Has my prayer been heard?
To see him shortly, I would stab again!
Had I the strength to; it would be just so.
Eviscerate myself happily, yes!
She falls over on to Romeo’s body.
My head becomes stone, heavy it lays down
Again on his chest, cooler than before.
Would that I could slake my thirst for his lips
But weariness brings its own heavy crown.
She attempts to run her fingers over his body.
Perhaps a touch then; blessed fingertip
Run scores of courses over his body.
Leave memories of morning lovemaking.
My husband and I consummated once
And now those trails with fingertips bloody.
My Romeo. My freedom and my death.
To question my choice to die with no thought
Of my life before Romeo claimed me,
Before I even thought to claim myself.
I was love’s fool. And for my love I fought
And died to live and see him, die again.
My breath is short upon my breast my love.
Do meet me at the gate to then usher
The putrefaction of both our bodies;
Yours slightly before mine as I follow.
And what of now? I cleave to you my love.
I’m yours in life and death to satiate.
If I die, I die for you and still live
A promise kept; a promise still keeping.
And if I live, I swear it’s not too late
In grave grotesqueries we shall still be!
You are the king of my mortal decay
And yet, I defy somehow your mandate
To live and die at your behest my love.
Did you not do that for me? Show the way!
So that my womb will only spawn your dreams.
Your decomposing children in me grow–
I yearn to mother. Perhaps now in death
We shall rule the ghosts that shall come of us.
Our mortal coils a harvest that will show
The madness of our fated love and deaths;
A song of youthful frenzy turned to blood.
Juliet begins singing softly
Your name, a noose I tied about my neck
Refrains of a song sung in misery
Of families whose hate bred hate and love.
Oh death my dance partner, may he cut in?
I am and am not yours to command now.
My eyes see nothing, my fingertips numb–
Yes, blessed sleep with him, my Romeo.
Juliet gasps and reaches out.
My husband here and shall now lead me out!