Richard the Third called for his horse once more,
but was run through by dramatic sword play.
He slumped to center stage in a death pose,
spotlight spilling over stage-bloodied head.

Absolute silence as we awaited
what came next. Then, up on one elbow…
“Isn’t he dead yet?” My father offered
his best sotto voce to one long “sh-h-h-h-h-h”

from the rest of the Shakespeare subscribers.
The actor broke the 4th Wall to giggle 
into death gasp while I sunk deeper
into shadow of long ago ringside

like my father did when I cried out that
Big Time Wrestling head stomps were, in fact, real.