Stage Fright

Author | Ellen Sander

Muffled paddle of footsteps. A forest of actors shadowbox around me and come to a posed standstill. Center stage right. Sound of one heart beating.

Arms arcing, chin level, I aerate my larynx and let my
line roll. It hangs in the air, roundly perfect.
Silence. I feel my eyes slide in their sockets.
The cast slithers across my horizon with venomous looks.
Moisture on my lips evaporates. I freeze mid
-gesture in place. Floor feels gritty underfoot.
Floor? Underfoot? Where are my shoes?
Audience clams. At first. Then, pandemonium
rampages throughout the house. Trousers, neckties, garter belts,
skirts, hose, shoes fly through the cacophony.

Director screams in the dark. He's always screaming.
He's the kind of screamer you pray isn't screaming at or about you.
He was born screaming.
No doubt about it this time.
Fists plunge into my face, pressing my cheeks over
my eyes. Please just let me disappear . I hear a trickle
pick my head up into a softly clinking window-lit hubbub. I, I am
seated, fingertips curved limply in my lap.
Above, tin ceiling, below, chiclet floor tiles. Shoes. Table
in front of me turkey rice soup getting cold.
Pudgy white dinner rolls squat next to wrapped pats of butter. Newspaper folded open to Help
Wanted page, blue inky circles. Chunky white flecked coffee mug perches open mouthed on
Formica table. Waitress pours a refill. She calls me “hon.”

About the Author | Ellen Sander a pioneering rock journalist in the sixties, author of Trips, Rock Life in the Sixties, now writes poetry in Belfast, Maine, where she was Poet Laureate in 2013 and 2015. Her work has appeared in many journals.