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Monologue from the Wings

Their voices harden under spotlight
& the audience’s gaze,

their costumes tight as bodies.
In this script, energy crisis is imminent—

the backdrop an orgy of traffic
light colors. Took weeks to paint.

Now I finger the edge of the canvas, fray it.
See the top & the bottom, unpainted. No one

is supposed to see. I am full of bad love,
which is allowed.

Soon the lights will go out in the script.
Soon the lights will go out on the stage.

I will need help with the ropes,
the curtain is too heavy to draw

alone. I remember someone
here—grin too bright

in the dark—said my name
like a question & I did not answer.

Lucy Wainger’s poems appear or will appear in “Best American Poetry 2017”, The Collagist, Muzzle Magazine, Poetry, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She studies creative writing at Emory University, where she received the 2017 Academy of American Poets Prize.

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