The Player

The theater is empty
floors swept clean
curtains closed
it is resting
only ghosts are active
reliving yesterday’s performances
the missed cues and bungled lines
the tepid ovations and perfunctory “Bravos”
and the dark, wondering, silence at the close
no curtain calls
no roses
just another performance
just another day

Cradling my morning cup
I ready myself
“All the world’s a stage,” said the Bard
so what will it be today
what role for me
the lover
the villain
perhaps the hero
nah! not likely that
more likely the fool
I have played that many times
but being well into my sixth age
most days I prefer a bit part
in the background
filling space
“signifying nothing”

But I must be ready
you never know what will be called
a tragedy perhaps
or comedy
that would be nice
but most likely a farce
most of our plays are farce
so I sip my coffee
practice my entendres
my quick steps
and soft shoe shuffles
stretch a bit
and don today’s costume

It is time
the troupe has assembled
seats are filled
and theater is waiting
the curtain begins to rise
I fill my lungs
throw back my shoulders
exhale and step out
murmuring to myself
“Once more into the breach”

Marv Himmel
January 18, 2018 ©

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