Dramatis Personae 2023 by Michael Fraser

Macbeth rules smoky backbar billiards with a
silver pool cue shiny as a dagger. This is how
he takes the situation’s temperature, measures
his level of cool in the mirror, sees how Lady
Macbeth’s polish takes the night away, loves
how they both move against tradition.

King Lear is a white-haired Santa meme,
fiddle-fit and stones smaller since unearthing
a chorus of scented oils, his shorn blanched
box beard, legendary beyond him.

Puck has another YouTube prank fall off a cliff,
holds his hands in cuffs, has his assistant post to
Instagram before cops run deeper into his phone,
worries about the reality show callback,
knows he can live anywhere except the end
of an audience’s laughter.

Romeo swipes left on Juliet,
sips his cinnamon-spiced pumpkin latte,
yanks his feet up on the café’s orange ottoman.
He doesn’t pop-up on Juliet’s chain of potentials,
he’s way below her six-foot cutoff. She’s still
on the fence and salty about Paris, “who the hell
wears white jeans after Labour Day?” she grills.

Hamlet hops his Harley and pistons it to full rev,
he feels the day’s dragged-out heat beg against
his black leather, the setting sun a teardrop of
light splayed across his helmet. He goggles
down the highway’s raven ribbon, and still
doesn’t know which way to go.

— from Juniper Volume 7, Issue 2