the theatre company
to my astonishment
is making things.
tanya breaks up
with chris, who leaves
a shadow of his positivity
and goes to work
in fort mac, what men must do.
she finds us a new hire
who, within four weeks
has convinced tanya
that i am cheating them
i have not made them stars yet.
tanya, at least, can say
she’s put in thirteen months
without fame coming calling.
this poor chick, on the day
they stage their coup
actually stamps her feet at me.
how dare i laugh?
how can i not? when she says
she’s been thinking of leaving
for a long time. i’m thirteen years
into this work, and, we are trying here
to bring to the stage original work
that carries seven generations
history, and spins light from it.
they think they have me
because we have a small school tour
in two days. there’s the door, i say
the tour will not be brilliant
suddenly solo with kids in schools
but this feels, if you want to know
like my whole life, always braced
so, when they drop their shoe
i laugh, shut the door, call shima.
shima lives in a basement suite
in a house where i used to live.
she’s from chiba, here to explore
and she’s volunteered for us before
painting scenery. how would you like,
i ask, to come with me and see
the northern lights? because of her visa
i cannot outright hire her
but all expenses and honouraria we can do.
we load out and drive north. she is japanese
it’s not done to pry. so she tells me
in her growing english, about adventures
in bunraku, when she worked in a puppet theatre
with her boyfriend once. we fall to scheming
how to rejig performances, and the snowy road
my friend james welcomes us
to stay at his house. there is also
an empty guesthouse, but wouldn’t we please
rather stay and visit. of course. shima twinkles
about her one request. james grins back.
they are kindred souls. we sit and play music
drinking tea, til it’s good and late.
then he leads us out like a showman
and presents her, with a flourish, the whole sky
lit up with dancing lights.
we stand silent in the snow
watch the ancestors dance
everything temporary falls away
to leave a shimmer of benediction.