Unless to Spy My Shadow in the Sun

Katy Didden

Winter 2017

after watching an all-male production of Richard III

Pretend you’re Anne.
Pretend you are a man
who plays an Anne
who spits into the face
of Gloucester.
Can a man expand
what we know of Anne?
Take our standards—
failing the ideal, he
makes it more unreal
that Anne believes
a wasting grief has made her
beautiful.  Yet see how
he-as-she demands
our sympathy, proving
man understands
Anne’s suffering.
It’s hard to tell what to pity—
did Anne fall for
the love-struck man
that Richard played,
the version of herself
he said he saw,
or just for Richard?
And if we’re willing to believe
when a man plays a man
playing a man in love
with a man-as-Anne,
aren’t we, in some sense,
already Anne?

Katy Didden is the author of The Glacier’s Wake (Pleiades Press, 2013). A former Hodder fellow at Princeton University, she is currently an Assistant Professor at Ball State University.

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