Poetry Friday - The Collected Works of Susan Ramsey
This one's going out to my sister, by request. She's probably the only person who can request specific poems, it occurs to me.
Backstage Duty at the Junior Civic
These desperate outlaws, these corrupt officials
are so young they take stairs two at a time
for fun. The Sheriff of Nottingham, a tall boy
with curly hair, not old enough to drive,
gives me a smile where I sit invisible, knitting.
He goes in to get his makeup done.
I know his mother's dying, her skin, her organs
slowly turning to stone. He told my daughter
she cries and he doesn't know what he should do.
The Makeup door's propped open by a box,
battered and strapped with duct tape. Someone wrote
"Crash Box" on the side in Magic Marker.
A kid is curious. The makeup man
picks it up and lofts it underhand.
Landing, it sounds like the Apocalypse.
It sounds like the wreck of a stagecoach carrying
a galloping cargo of anvils and chandeliers.
It's glorious. They nudge it back in place.
We're brought up to be brave, and brave is silent.
We strangle on silence, but what words could we use?
Here's noise commensurate with catastrophe.
I want one for myself, want one for Aaron,
for his mom, for everyone who knows
they're cast in the big fight scene at the end,
have read the script and know that they will lose.
So that, stripped of costumes, we can climb
those last steps panting, heave our box and howl.