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.