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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Chase

Poem Inspired by "Love's Labour's Lost"

The Definition of Crepuscular

By Justin Karcher

Maybe it’s cause I ate

a boatload of hallucinogenic tortellini

but right now

I’m imagining the Shakespeare stage

as a rocket ship

blasting off

before the father dies

before the lovers part

when we can still savor

all this labour

that goes into being affectionate

flirtatious with the forces

that unshape your world

never think

you can close yourself off

ignoring the chemistry

all around you

sparkling like wine sweat

staining the playbill

sparkling like grass blood

staining your kneecaps

if someone tickles your TNT

you better explode

you better sing songs

so, ignore your studies

because there’s an entire world to experience

isn’t that what this show’s about

that there are things you can control

and things you can’t control

that you shouldn’t try fighting

the dancing happening in your bones?

just dance, figure out the rest later

put on makeup, be a clown

grab a ladder, climb to the moon

honk its nose, make it laugh

poke at its heart, teach it how to love

anyway, today is Melissa’s birthday

she’s in the show— a milk wench

shimmying across the stage

like a voluptuous shooting star

and we’re a bunch of astronomers

at the top of the hill

turning empty wine bottles

into liver-diseasing telescopes

pretending the actors are just oversized satellites

sending out signals that only we can hear

Shakespearean Morse code making us go insane

but in a good way

because we’re all composed of tiny poems

that live in our blood

they ride around in paddleboats

looking for sunken ears that’ll listen to em

then during intermission

we start talking about our cats for whatever reason

how they always get up at like 5 AM

our cat Coco punches the blinds until we get up

apparently, all cats do this

Caitlin who’s in vet school in Philadelphia

says that cats are crepuscular animals

which means that they are primarily active during twilight

maybe dawn too

but there really isn’t a difference between the two

then I start thinking about lovers

lovers are probably crepuscular too

every character in a Shakespeare play is crepuscular

a colony of milk wenches that live on the moon

a caravan of clowns building a sun with used matchsticks

the best summer of our lives

spent sitting in the grass with the people we love

into the sunset we go, soliloquies silencing the crickets

into the sunset we go, actors turning into astronauts

into the sunset we go inside a crepuscular rocket ship

the stage is no longer a stage, but something that maps the stars

it unhinges itself from the graveyard earth

all the actors steering the astronomy

until its flying above Buffalo, above half-finished condos

all the street cats below are meowing in unison

the song is beautiful, we’re beautiful

let us always savor all this labour

that goes into being affectionate


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