The man was, it was a man not a woman,
Standing on a stage quite near to the orchestra pit, back to the audience,
Pale skin and short dark hair, broad shoulders. Tall.
This is not a fantasy I assure you, I merely recount what I saw.
Some persistent muscle from former years
Now subdued below slightly looser, freckled skin
The stage was empty the light white, no show
And the man stood there, still,
Giving us time to take in the beauty of the floor-length cloaks of
Indigo velvet draped from each shoulder, two curtains holding a thousand stars,
tiny points of light sewn by hand by small women somewhere else who cares
Between the curtains, the pale skin,
Nape, back, buttocks, part of a thigh, of a calf.
He was silent, there was no music, someone coughed
and the cough echoed embarrassingly
The audience shifted, dared a sideways glance to check they had the appropriate response,
Looking at this bare flesh.
But yes, indeed the only remedy to the discomfort was to concentrate on the man
concentrate all one’s thoughts on the curve of his back and the crease where bum meets thigh
and either side his velvet drapes with their deep and silent folds
and let the minutes pass until this image is now your life, your world
A hushed world/ not thirsty / not hungry / no longer embarrassed
Accepting the present state as the only way into a new one
Time stretched / the audience had been there forever when
The two cloaks fell to the ground and the audience gasped
And gasped some more as the stage curtains in turn
came crashing down in a tonnage of star-studded velvet
Taking seconds to complete their synchronized descent
Until there was but velvet mounds and dust in the air and man.
The audience clapped for seventeen seconds and headed for the bar.