The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Enroute to the post office

on a Monday afternoon, strolling

mindlessly along the winding

path, soles rolling with the cobble

stones, through familiar ivy

laden trees, you pass

the musty theater.


The dusty scenery appears

to be leftover from  Act 1;

the plot, surprisingly, the same

one you’d performed when you were 5.

Although the stage has long been dark

(you gave up acting years ago)  you know the lines

by heart, you pause

to glance, and there they are

as if they never tired, the players,

apparitions of the way

it was, ghastly

distortions crafted over time.


But you continue on your way.

You’ve no desire

to perform that role again. Besides,

the hope tucked in

your pocket holds potential

for something new.


A first glimpse

into that box, you’re disappointed,

the package you had hoped for still

in limbo so it seems.

But what is this ancient postmark?

Expectation shifts at once

into astonished wonder, as if this

postscript has been circling

the planet 50 years, awaiting

this precise

time to drop out

of the sky into your open,

outstretched palms.  Confession.


And though you didn’t comprehend it

was a cell that you’d been living

in, you feel its instant

release, fall away,

an opening, the first deep breath

in years, a thrill!

Decades of guilt reprieved

in the turning of a key.

It wasn’t you.


It never was. No matter

you could not

recall being laced

with drugs, the ones that made you

doubt reality, that made it next

to impossible for you

to walk without that hidden shame.  No

matter that the story told

for all the world to read

confirmed complicity.


That key

that you’d kept secreted

so long indeed unlocked

a treasure chest. You simply hadn’t

realized where to look.


Passing by that

stage again on your way home,

the lights now up, transforming

tragedy to comedy. The actors

just as tireless, parrot

their recycled lines,

you glance again and smile…


as you continue on your way.




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