So much they can show us in the dark.
The house lights die and then
a young voice acting older, the girl
from my lit class steps like a fawn
into the light and becomes another
and I believe her as I believe
the mystery of roses in my yard
growing red in a May midnight.
How I love what I feel watching
students create other lives
on stage, caring so much about lines
they’ve pressed into their minds.
My tongue becomes cotton
when they sing, my feet twitch
through each dance and my soul
glows when they do well
what they’ve rehearsed for months
of afternoons and evenings.
And I’d like them to know
I’ve felt that strange pain
in the thrill of a curtain call, that ache
when something beautiful is over. But
joy can stay on the stage of memory
and in an adult tomorrow, they can
close their eyes and live again
the night they turned paper scripts
into living theater, the miracle
that can happen behind school footlights
each time the curtain rises.
From Alone with Love Songs (Grayson Books).
Used with the author’s permission.