The Understudy, the Night the Star called Ill

Scribbling away
The notes of the director
(Who is sweating
Harder than I am)

The spotlight
Beckoning to me,
My mind
The shaky markings
of my pencil

Stage manager calls places
And actors ready
The chorus smiles
One pinching my cheek
The leading lady whispers
Telling me to break a leg
How I wish I could
The bent-up broken leg beating
Her false promises.

When all is done
It’s one race to reach the curtain
Calls. And make the final
Bows. Though in their minds,
all their minds, I may fail –
or at least, not live up –
Though my cues may not be
Clean, and the costume a tad
Too big, and though my lines
Dropped impromptu,
In my head, I am Olivier
for tonight.




THIS IS THE TAROT CHALLENGE, a 78-day writing challenge where everyday I pick out a random card from my tarot deck and write something about, against, inspired by, based on the card by the day’s end. The works can range from poetry to fiction to drama. When the card is from the major arcana, the title of the work should be the card name. When the card is from the minor arcana, the title can be different but the card drawn should be revealed at the end.