The Worst Seat in the House

by Stewart Alter

Fidgeting and uncomposed,
His coat in the way,
He wanted to leave his seat
When the performance began
To join the actors onstage.
He was drawn to the radiance
Of sequenced moments
And exposed intentions
Through lines ripened in memory.
He wanted to be a presence
Close enough to hear their breaths
Rounded into words—
Not, as he now heard,
Coughs in the assembly
Of shadows, in the role
Of the distracted, eavesdropping
On half-completed scenes.
His thoughts mingled and astray,
He turned them toward the vague
And disturbing muttering,
So bitter and blistering
And untransformed by artifice
That he was unsure what to say.
He wanted to leave
The darkness,
But someone had to stay
In the audience, to watch
And to listen,
With no role to play.  

Stewart Alter, who joined LP2 in the Fall of 2020, has been writing poetry and painting intermittently before, during and now after a long career in business journalism and corporate communications.