From decades on the amateur stage, a leading lady
slides out from the wings, a sudden presence
between two flats, gaudy red lips recalling
mildewed lines, limp-witted humor, still tittering
laughs from Charlie's Aunt into matinee hankies.

Her world contained by this minor stage, applause,
cast-party affirmations worn like the gaudy hat
purchased on a lark, and never again quite right
for any other occasion. How clever, how pleasant
this familiar story, such neat resolution, her role

less performance than simply being, a flower
already cut, in a thin crystal vase, already wilting,
save for this final bow, gracious curtain call moment,
before losing her light, before the silence to come.


Jerry Kraft is a playwright, poet and theatre critic. His poetry has been published in Willow Springs, Rattle, Blood Orange Review, Tidepools, Driftwood Review and others.  His first volume of poetry, Rapids  was published in 2003 and a
chapbook, "You Dropped Your Bible and I Saw Your Thong: poems from the Best of Craisgslist"  was published in 2009.
He lives with his wife, Bridgett and two daughters in Port Angeles, Washington.

I have been involved in theatre for many years, primarily as a playwright but also as a critic and director. One particular woman who has spent decades in community theatre here inspired this poem, especially in the way that there has been an almost symbiotic blending of the stage and performance with this woman's very identity. I guess I felt something very much in common with this embodiment of performance and artifice in pursuit of artistry.




Copyright 2009