The Burial of Hamlet

by Jimmy Pappas

We buried Hamlet
with all the adornments
of a prince of hamsters—
acorns and flowers,
pine cones and pebbles,
twigs in mystical shapes—
and covered it all
with a high mound of dirt.

The next day, unaware that
I watched through a window,
you dug up Hamlet’s grave.
You stood in the back yard
with a stick in your hand
poking at his still body,
the permanence of death
already seeping into
your six-year-old world.


Jimmy Pappas served for the Air Force during the Vietnam War as an English language instructor training South Vietnamese soldiers. Jimmy received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree from Bridgewater State University and a Master’s in English literature from Rivier University. He is a retired teacher whose poems have been published in many journals, including Yellowchair Review, New Verse News, Shot Glass Journal, Kentucky Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Off the Coast, Boston Literary Magazine, The Ghazal Page, and War, Literature and the Arts. He is now a member of the Executive Board of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire.