The Ventriloquist's Assistant

He is an introvert: I’m loud and brash.
The laughter, the applause are always mine.
He doesn't seem to mind - he gets the cash,
I get the glory - and it suits him fine,
but when the clapping ends things aren't so good.
I’m nobody when the performance stops.
This smile is only painted on the wood –
at home I'm just like all the other props.
He too is diminished when he puts away
the part of him that only lives through me.
I speak the things he wouldn't dare to say;
we’re two halves of one personality.
Alone, he is anonymous, withdrawn.
United on the stage, we’re both reborn.

First published in Extreme Sonnets II, Rhizome Press 2022