Breakup Sonnet on a Random Line from Shakespeare, Taken Out of Context

I could not stay behind you, my Desire,

though my failing was not for want of love.

Your ambition I admired, your fire,

but for both of us it wasn’t enough.

We began on equal terms, two hearts,

partners in a balanced relationship,

but I was cut as you became the star;

you gulped the wine that I could only sip.

Sometimes I was content to hold the ladder

steady as you climbed up to the roof,

but, always left behind, I grew sadder,

lonely—not, as assumed, aloof.

When, against my will, you set me free,

I tried to climb, but fell, without you to help me.


Copyright 2018

T. Allen Culpepper

Notes: The line is from Twelfth Night, but the punctuation, capitalization, and context have been altered to change the meaning. The poem is also partially a response to the song “The Good Side,” by Troye Sivan, imagined from the opposite point of view.


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