To Be in the Audience

I wrote this poem after attending a play one night. Thinking, however, about all this season’s graduations, it could apply there as well.

To Be in the Audience

What does it mean to give
your body wholly to something?

To lean forward as the curtain is drawn,
shadows of bodies
frame the stage.

To be down,
waiting,
can’t wait
to get up.

The itch of art
until the deed’s done
the day’s done.

Missed cues and muffled lines,
accents and
grace and power,
speed.

To watch the single prop transformed,
a swirl of color and light,
cradled like a toy,
whipped through the air,
tied at the shoulder.

Every show needs an audience.

Is it art if no one watches,
dearth of applause,
empty of appreciation?

Well,
yes,
but
showing up
helps.