The Cue

Sandwiched in the dark between layers
of curtain, he shifts his weight from leg
to leg, his mind from image to undesirable
image, half an ear on the familiar rhythm
of someone elseís scene. He wonders
whether anyone ever masters these teetering
moments, whether anyone says yes, I am
prepared and doesnít feel a tickle of panic
knowing postponement isnít possible.
He toys with the idea of some kind of ritual -
listening to Mozart or kissing a photograph
or telling you he loves you and not to wait up.

In a moment, he will take to the stage and
the world will shrink around him; he will
yearn and scheme and be hopelessly in love,
his body washed red, then lavender soft;
a hundred heads will cry his tears, before
he slips back quietly into the curtainís black.

Jonathan Totman

If you have any comments on this poem, Jonathan Totman would be pleased to hear from you.