A playwright would compose truthful soliloquies
limning the bruises left by strong, squeezing hands,
eternal burdens on tender pale skin from ages past.
But my cherished audience held no faith in these lines,
mistaking me for the actress I would never become.
They returned my words and I swallowed them down,
choking alone backstage.
But my love, I am so cold here in your arms now.
You give your heart to a starlet long laid to rest,
a performer whose breath was stolen by angry hands.
His fingers improvised, rewriting the happy ending
bitterly on her neck; her gasps for air, the final lines
as black spots eclipsed the bright spotlights.
Gone by curtain call.