THE DUKE OF MILAN AND HIS BRAVE SON BEING TWAIN

JANNA LAYTON

 
 

“Myself am Naples,/ Who with mine eyes, never since at ebb, beheld/ The king my father wracked…and all his lords, the Duke of Milan/ And his brave son being twain.”
                                                                                                                                                                                               – Shakespeare, The Tempest

 
 
Father, father,
I longed to shout
as the ship entered the harbor.
Oh, for a falcon’s eyes, a falcon’s wings
to know my father was on board.
Of our vessel, which I thought doomed,
only I was fished from the sea by the fleet.
In Naples I was alone,
until, like a vision,
the last and best of our party appeared.
The first I saw was Ferdinand
waving from the bow,
his arm around a maid.
The king his father joined them,
and the crowd gathered on the shore
was deafening joy.
Ferdinand saw me and although I could not
hear his words I could hear his smile.
My father lives! I thought,
but the king looked at me
and looked away.
 
What confusion followed.
I saw my father,
but I could not read his eyes.
Then Ferdinand’s arms were around me.
Your cousin, he said. Your cousin is my bride.
The tan face, blushing, frantic.
I remember. Miranda. I remember, Miranda.
We once put a leaf in a fountain to sail
a pebble like a sailor.
Where has she been?
 
Finally my father disembarked.
He held me
but growled in my ear, We are ruined.
You are not ruined, said Sebastian,
our friend, the king’s brother,
as if it were the thirtieth time he had said it.
You are not ruined, you will live
under my protection.
And my protection too, said Ferdinand to me,
our protection, for we all are cousins now.
What has happened on the ship
that we should need protection?
Father, what is the matter?
Father.

 

 
 

∘∘∘