for my mother
Nothing is ever dark
completely. Inside the lobby,
the glow of a popcorn machine
could be confused with moonlight
coming through the gilded doors,
glinting off the staircase balustrades.
Is it awake? This old building
that has seen so many lives
in mimicry, a parade of jesters
glittering in their inebriant festoon,
so many loves and deaths rehearsed
to the glory of their enacted apogee.
And through the bloom of swinging doors:
the velvet seats worn through
in greyed-out shapes of seated patrons,
hovering in the hush and swell of dramas past.
The gasps and laughter are still here,
with your impish spirit in a wig and cape.
It’s been more than thirty years since,
yet some of sliver of your spirit glows
atop the stage, appears suspended
in radiance, beams in unapologetic light
around your happiness, at being free,
at being large, at being limitless.
Miranda Lynn Barnes
Miranda Lynn Barnes is a poet, writer, and educator from the US, now resident in the UK. Her poems have appeared in New Welsh Reader, Shearsman, Poetry Birmingham, Tears in the Fence, Under the Radar, The Compass, The Interpreter’s House, and Lighthouse Journal, among other journals and anthologies. Miranda taught creative writing for five years at Bath Spa University, where she earned her doctorate. She now serves as Research Publications at the university, and lives in Bristol. Her first pamphlet collection, Blue Dot Aubade, is forthcoming from V. Press in 2020.
About This Poem
My mother was an actress in the theatre when I was a child, and I often spent time there while my mother was in rehearsals. She sadly had to stop acting for health reasons many years ago, and the theatre was subsequently closed for a long time due to dilapidation. The poem is my imagined return to that place that held so much magic for her, and where I know part of her heart still lives.