please yourself

Maxada Mandala

Sideshow

as she waited for her intro
in thatone-act play,
she breathed dust mote air,
watched suspended particles
drift in a floodlight glare

all around her sound diminished
to footnotes…sidebars…
blurred her mind to panic
for she couldn’t think her lines

she felt more than saw
her audience expecting
presence on that stage,
yet she summoned only
to her fading memory…
shredded straw, dried flowers
biscuits left too long upon a shelf
past…past…nothing for the present

yet…she parted curtains
slipped private into public
and sang remembered lullabies
and hymns and lyrics from an album
she once played upon a summer porch…
that you can’t please everyone
so you just gotta please yourself

Bonnie Marshall

Art by Philippe Fernandez

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