Playing the role of a lifetime,
Behind a burnished mask,
Pretending I am able-bodied,
That I’m whole – no easy task.
Camouflage my flaws and defects,
Veil my raw, tear-stained cheeks,
Masquerade as living and breathing,
Trapped in a soul, pained and weak.
The unending audience of cynics,
Demands – expects – my best showing,
No second-rate, mediocre production,
For the spectators are gifted, all-knowing.
No practice, no pre-play rehearsals,
Impromptu, must think on my feet,
No second chances or second guesses,
No occasion to restart or repeat.
The critics are carefully observing,
Primed to cajole and berate,
Comfortably seated in judgment,
Deliver the verdict, determine my fate.
Harsh words, condemnation, disapproval,
Scattered on black and white pages,
My performance is sadly lacking,
The high and mighty mass media rages.
My delicate façade has been broken,
Anguish! Hurts worse than my ills,
Tormented, bitter tears fall freely,
I simply do not fit the bill.
The curtain is drawn on this story,
No breathless demands for “Encore,”
The stage is now dark and empty,
Bone-weary, I can offer no more.