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Michael Quattrone

You’re on stage and I’m behind the scenes.
You perform a monologue while I prepare
a costume change, or soak a blouse in dye
for the death scene of a star. I mouth the words
and score the slips, on book, flash-lit, within
the quiet pitch of the wings. Your speeches all
are memorized. All things are not just things,
they’re props: I place them in their places night
by night. You treat my careful setting like a lie.
You act (on cue) as if you do not care; you cannot
show that when you threw the ashtray and it broke,
and you stepped barefoot on its real glass,
your foot began to leave its print behind. I saw
you wince before that line where you begin to cry.

Michael Quattrone

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