Author: Bill Rector

Bill Rector is a physician practicing in Denver whose poetry has been published in a variety of journals, including Field, Prairie Schooner, The Denver Quarterly, and Hotel Amerika. His book, bill, was published in 2006 by Proem Press.

Macbeth & Lady Macbeth & Desdemona & Richard III


Startled the living
Daylights out of me, they did,
Those bulldozers at the forest’s edge,
Blades down like the fallen
Chins of men heavily sleeping,
Snoring, but ready to wake
With a sooty hack and roar,
Shaking me in my rooted stance,
Big men, sod-dewed, root-bearded men,
Men with a heavy tread,
Men that come and do what they have to do
No matter what it means to you.
Men who bite off more than they can chew,
Then chew it.

Lady Macbeth

Yes, I would like that banana.
Yes, I see it is the last one.
Are you saving it for someone?
Or are you going to toss it
In the kettle with everything else?
You know what happens to bananas.
See, that one’s already black.
Soon, it will be mushy
And of little use to anyone.
No, I would not like to be thought greedy.
Yes, I know I have no more claim
To the banana than the next person.
But, weird ladies, I am pregnant,
And that banana is what I desire to eat.


Good Sir, it’s midnight.
Do you know where your moles are?
Did they slide between the sheets? Between us?
Or, leery Moor, did they slink from the shadow
Of your arm to darken the hollows
Of my drowsing face? (Don’t kid yourself.
I’m not asleep. I have never been.)
Have they been spotted by your scars, slashes
As pale as faces cracking a door?
Are they watching Letterman, too?
Or have they run off with some lifted brow?
The rumor in a idle stare?
Do they know that when they return
They’ll not find us here?

Richard III

Don’t tell me you don’t see the wall.
For God’s sake, don’t give me that.
How do you think the red gate
Manages to hang as it does,
Banging open and shut
On one hinge all day, every day?
What keeps the leaky roof
From crashing down
Upon your back?
What keeps the horizon at bay?
Holds out out and in in? I to I? Am to am?
What’s as long as you remember?
As far as you know?
Don’t tell me you don’t remember the quarry.

8 ½ & black bag

8 ½

an age you and I once were, in nanoseconds, inversions of the hourglass, lunar phases, and dog years…

8 ½ -> the sign for infinity turned on end and made to walk all the roads of the earth, accompanied by its little friends, one and two.

Inverted eyeglasses. Strange thoughts. 8 ½

seconds is when to open the parachute unless it’s already too late.

8 ½: a large hat. Small shoes. Pellets in the sealed lips of a shotgun shell, paces from the bent palm tree to the pirate treasure, rings before the executor of your uncle’s estate hangs up. It takes

8 ½ minutes for sunlight to reach the earth and dendrites in the brain to survive after the light grows dim and the heart stumbles to a stop.

8 ½ 8 ½ 8 ½

     – the title of a partly autobiographical film by Federico Fellini;
     – the height in feet of the world’s tallest man;
     – sticks of butter in a wedding cake;
     – fake carats in a floozie’s sparkler;
     – quakes to make seismographs scribble and spans fall.

If 10’s the ceiling and 0 the floor 8 ½ is near the top. 8 ½, as pain, is a lot. You’re crawling the walls. You want a shot.

As a breeze, in knots, it’s enough to unfurl the black and red banner of the departing craft:

8 ½.

black bag

Where, William Carlos Williams,
are your patients?

How in the world, the words,
did you escape

them? Erase
them? In

stanzas succinct
as prescriptions

wouldn’t a few
more fit? Between curved

blades of obstetric
forceps, the book of birth

and death certificates?
White as the door

are they still
there? Waiting

on the heart’s rapid knock,
the hoped-for answer?

Why is your first name
also your last?