‘Which words resemble me?’ I asked.
The Red Queen answered, ‘None.’
‘Is that use or mention?’ I inquired.
‘Do no words look like me?
Is “None” my doppelgänger, 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 my password Were who laughed:
it was my old friend Were.
Were simpered still, subjectively.
The Red Queen rose, irate,
and ripped a pike from a rabbit’s hands
and smote Were on his pate.
And what was Were right up to then
went weirdly inert.
From the 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.