January 11, 2008
By Andrea Levey, Buffalo Grove, IL

An actor on a stage,
exposed by the rising curtain,
stitched with worn fabric.
The one girl in the audience sinks into the folding chair,
formed from weak plastic,
indented from the weight.
The burning of a spotlight cuts a circle into the floor,
like a thief
slicing his way through fragile glass,
illuminating the stretch of his smile.
She wrings the program with twisting hands
as her jaw tightens.
A crack splits the wooden stage,
running deep into the faded background
cluttered with cardboard trees and buildings,
pretending to be real.
A line of dim lights push
their way through the parted aisles,
broken tiles concealed
by the thin, red carpet,
leading back to the violent shaking of her foot,
tiny creaks escape the pressure on her chair.
An exit sign buzzes
above an empty hallway,
the low humming collides
with the crashing of a set change,
almost like an accident.
She grasps the air
as he embraces the hand of the actress.
His straining bow shrouded
by the final fall
of the heavy curtain.

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