Chana Bloch

Act One

Hedda Gabler is lighting the lamps in a fury.  	     
From the front row center  
we see the makeup streaking her neck 
little tassels of sweat
that stain her bodice. She says Yes to Tesman      			 
and it's like spitting.  

We are just-married, 
feeling lucky. Between the acts 		 
we stop to admire ourselves in the lobby mirror.

But Hedda—how misery 
curdles her face!  
She opens the letters with a knife  
and her husband stands there  
shuffling, the obliging child 
waiting to be loved.   

Yes, she says, fluffing the pillows 
on the sofa, yes dear, stoking 
the fire. And Tesman smiles. A shudder
jolts through her body to 
lodge in mine, and
			 oh yes, I can feel that 
blurt of knowledge 
no bride should know.