We are in bed talking about Queen Elizabeth’s death
and the ascendance of Charles to the throne.
“They should have made me king,” I say.
“You?” she says. “You’re too lazy to be king.”
My wife has become obsessed with reading
and watching everything about the Queen.
She even made me watch The Queen last Saturday
while we ate pizza and surprisingly I didn’t fall asleep.
“Has Charles written a novel?” I ask.
“Does Charles have over 200 poems published
and four books? Does he teach seven classes
a semester and walk five miles a day?”
She isn’t convinced by my argument and returns
to what she’s reading, which is, of course,
about the Queen. I kiss my queen goodnight
then turn to face the wall but don’t sleep.
“The truth is she didn’t have much of a life,” I say,
my back to her. “Always at the service of others,
always taken care of, she never had to find an apartment,
or pay a gas bill or go grocery shopping.”
“Elizabeth lost her father at a young age,” she says.
“She lost her husband. She lost her mother
and sister in the same year.
She was bombed during World War II.”
Nobody is privileged enough not to suffer.
But what would we do in a palace?
Even when we moved into this rented house,
it seemed too big for us.
Maybe it’s not so much that I’m lazy,
but that it doesn’t seem like such a great job.
Already I want to abdicate the throne
and go back to my own world. May we live long.
CLINT MARGRAVE is the author of several books of fiction and poetry, including Lying Bastard, Salute the Wreckage, The Early Death of Men, and Visitor. He is also editor of the forthcoming collection, Requiem for the Toad: Selected Poems of Gerald Locklin due out from NYQ Books. His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Rattle, The Moth, Ambit, and Los Angeles Review of Books, among others. He lives in Los Angeles, CA., USA.