Not true nor fair, the mistress of his eyes
is dark with hair like wires and breasts of dun.
A thief, she steals the angel friend who tries
to plead case for love that tied Will’s tongue.
Will’s blind, a fool, and speaking, he allows,
as madmen do: she’s cruel and foul and black,
female evil, a bed of broken vows
where all men ride and angels catch the clap.
But rising at her name, love points her out;
proud flesh betrays. And sonnets end. I wonder
if he tried. Did she take him back…or doubt
what even Will could find to say to her?
In faith, twas my despair that spoke so ill.
Oh, truly, love, here stands your own sweet Will.
Brenda Yates is the author of Bodily Knowledge (Tebot Bach) awarded Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center’s Poetry Prize and a Patricia Bibby Memorial Prize, among others. Publication credits include: Mississippi Review; American Journal of Poetry; Tor House News; City of the Big Shoulders: Anthology of Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press); Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (Texas Review Press).