‘Which words resemble me?’ I asked.
The Red Queen answered, ‘None.’
‘Is that use or mention?’ I inquired.
‘Do no words look at all like me
or’s None my doppelganger, Ma’am?’
There was silence in the Hall.
When someone laughed, ‘Off with his head!’
was what the Red Queen screamed.
Her liveried rabbits strode my way
and pointed tungsten pikes
at what I hoped was someone stood
behind me, and it was.
It was a password who still laughed:
it was my old friend Were.
Were simpered still, subjectively.
The queen, who’d been irate,
ripped the pike from the lead rabbit’s hands
and smote Were on his pate.
And what was Were right up to then
went weirdly inert.
From a nose bleed nudged by queenly pike
rose flowers on Were’s shirt.
I wished no more that I were Were;
were that so I’d be dead.
I woke and wept for Were who wasn’t
anymore, and left.