“Every Theatre Has a Ghost,” a poem for Haunted Passages by Heather Lang-Cassera

 

—for a former Siegfried & Roy stagehand

You were the one to cut
the illusionist himself in half
with your followspot;
to light him at low level;
to hold the cable with perfect
tension in the dark, before the shift
in zenith, and then coil
quickly hand over hand;
to walk past mirrors,
O, such sweet tacenda,
meant to make it seem
as if no one were there;
to witness the showman
parade around the passerelle
on stoic stallion as stark
white as the lies we now tell
ourselves. Yet, amongst tigers
with names like Mirage,
who could remember
that horse that appeared
only once per show,
but whose hooves shattered
the lights within
that palatial stage each night.
You were the one who fixed them.
When you returned home after midnight
smelling like Montecore or Cashmere,
your house cat would hiss,
demand you cry peccavi,
and then rub her face against
your penumbral-black denim,
telling you where you belonged.
What did she sense in herself
in the ingravescent afterthought
of those beautiful beasts,
was it magic, ossified, too familiar?

 

 

Heather Lang-Cassera is the Clark County, Nevada, Poet Laureate. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry with a Certificate in Literary Translation. Her poems have been published by The Normal School, North American Review, Paper Darts, Pleiades, South Dakota Review, and many other literary journals. Heather serves as Editor-in-Chief for Tolsun Books and World Literature Editor for The Literary Review. At Nevada State College, she teaches Introduction to Creative Writing, World Literature II, Modern American Poetry, and more. heatherlang.cassera.net.

Image: chicagoreader.com

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