I Shed my Soul
by Nanette Rayman
I shed my soul down stage right,
my heart raised high, the audience applauds
in a frenzied surge fete. And they get the bare
soul ballet, the battement petite beaten
to the hermetic cues to stay alive.
All I have left to do is to connect Cressida’s hurting
to my own with a velvet cord and open
myself breathless by the window-set mourn wood,
arduously attaching emotional muscle and my real face.
I am not Nina in The Seagull. I rather relate to Masha—
I am in mourning for my life. I find lost Psalms in the ornate
frontispieces. Aggrieved in the moment, my hair wild and free
in the radiance of stage lights reflected on the rosy pink curtains
and my eyes voracious for holy answers, my eyes
one more time pleading as Cressida in a rupture of fire by the window
pane—no one appeared to see. It vanished and appeared four times
the fire, one violin player struck a G-note below middle C.
It is not out of insolence that I ask for a better portion—
it is out of need. My need drapes my bones like
streamers of snow banks. My soul awakens in anxious adagio—
I’m grateful I am not homeless. I won’t wither and dieon the stage tonight. Theatre is a crash course in turning grateful.