The Stand-Up Fabulist

I’m a stand-up fabulist; it’s a living. 
Once upon a time I was young,
Imagining how bad it would be
When my father got home,
How life would be different
If I just bought that thing.

The desires and nightmares piled up -
There weren’t enough closets,
And I forgot most of them.
The most impossible ones I held the closest
Until I felt ready to go on tour.

I drove into town after town,
Walked on the stages of a hundred motels,
Eager to begin talking to myself again.
I applauded myself from the usual table,
Breathing in that applause on stage like air.

Why it took so many years I don’t know.
But I discovered the motels
Were all owned by the same person -
Someone who looked enough like me
To arouse my suspicion.

And always just me at the one table –
Glancing restless at my watch,
Staring embarrassed into a gin and tonic.

I was bombing every night,
My fables trailing off 
Into a grocery list of lies.

One night, I stopped talking and listened.

For the first time, I heard things:

The clink of ice in a glass at the table
Where I sat watching me,
My own breathing in the nearly empty room,
The clatter of the central air system.

I walked off that stage, 
Went to my dressing room,
Looked in the mirror.

I saw only everything there was to see.

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