Inkslinger, Rainmaker

I zip up my hoodie, my mottled green

armor against the modern day.

I slip on my true face.

I swing onto the stage, the swagger

cloaks my trembling core.

Behind me, my footsteps are footprints

seeping darkness into the lacquered floor.

In the house, audience silhouettes are

illumined by hand-held black mirrors.

I step onto my mark, into the spot.

A light to be seen by, not to see by.

Night-blind, I lower my hands and the sheaf

of annotated poems.

India ink

beads on my skin as I

fight my flight instinct.

I inhale their anticipation and am still.

My breath is shadowed so

much by the rhythm of my words,

rehearsed and recited, that

I am expounding smoke.

My lips are now foam-flecked with ink.

Words whirl and then waft higher, and

hang heavy.

My exhalations

become the air that they breathe.

My words pop, and like soap bubbles,

beat tattoos against the skin.

At the last,

and for that silent moment, they are

in the palm of my hand.

Audience applause sounds of staccato

rain and, like brief summer

showers, evanesce into memory.

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