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.