A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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June 2007, vol 3 no 2

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Patrick M. Pilarski


Stage Lights

Standing on an empty stage.  Wide.  Dark.  I know what waits behind the heavy fabric curtain:  faces and thoughts.  The wings hide cool shadows.  Fingers skitter along spider-web rigging.  

Soft velvet rises, soundless and elegant.   Starlight hangs from the rafters, springs to life, burns away the crowd.  I was wrong; nothing waits beyond the footlights. 

An empty stage is filled.  Naked lights melt holes in cracked makeup, paint a bright parade.  Thoughts get lost in the long floorboards between two spotlight pools. 

Soft velvet falls.  Stage lights cool, dull motes of waning amber, viewed through paged curtains.  There is no fourth wall. Just rows of empty seats.  Afterglow and absence.

Sky-born static,
snow licks the lonely blacktop—
a midnight highway.