The Best Payment

Black as pitch,

Silent as the grave-- 

Only murky outlines of people

Softly rustling in their seats.

Curtains squeakily, speedily open,

Lights flash upon the stage--

I begin.

 

I disappear;

My character takes my place.

She makes my audience laugh

And cry

And smile

And sigh

And gasp.

 

Their energy reaches into

My very soul,

Replenishing me,

Revitalizing me;

Giving me strength,

Giving me courage,

Giving me unspeakable joy.

 

I take my bows

With my fellow castmembers

As we bask in the applause

Of our gracious audience.

We step outside to greet them,

Their delighted expressions

Delight me as well.

 

At the end of the show,

Though a paycheck I may not receive,

My reward, in my opinion,

I have already earned.

Those happy laughs

And beaming faces

Are the only payment I'll ever need.

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