The Understudy

Treads the boards unsteady,
limbs mutinous, tongue numb–
he is his own understudy, seldom used.
A stranger to his part, fluffs lines
from a constantly re-written script.
Blows every dress-rehearsal
and all of his cues. Bystander,
blends into painted backdrops
of far-flung cities never toured.
Dumb as a prop.
Heckled from the Gods
as another curtain call’s missed.
Deafening din of no hands applauding,
no encore demanded, he takes no bow.
A fitful spectre resigned to the wings,
extra in a one-man show.

Published in Twenty-Two Twenty-Eight