Poem: Set the Stage

Set the Stage

She begins
to set the stage;
to lay out the things
she thinks I'll need
to complete this act
after she exits,
leaving the spotlight
for me.

with that stillness,
with her lack of
resistance to time.
I whisper, "I know,"
but even now,
I really don't.

Countless hours spent
preparing myself,
imagining the blunt edges
of that morning or evening
that is, I pray, so far in the future
that I shouldn't be thinking of it yet.

At 26, I could shave off the two.
I am still learning the basics.
Still alternating between
crawling and walking;
between soaring and falling.
I still need this hand to hold.
How can she be leaving?

Certain moments are aglow,
and I see then that I can survive,
even alone.

But there are still dark patches
and painful pieces I can't fix.
That contrast builds the scene,
and its stark blacks and whites
are surprisingly and unbelievably

She taps my shoulder;
reminds me of something
that she has just learned herself—

No one wants to
hear the highlights
without the crashing lows.

I'm grateful
and growing
as she takes a bow.

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