Free Verse Poem by Nikki Tate
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Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb the actors mumble emulating conversation upstage left. Dull rumble at the back of the room, aural frame for the real action center stage. Rhubarb, rhubarb, rutabaga marble-mouthed, hand-waving set dressing. Restrained enough to avoid becoming distraction, the women are scenery painted in with sound. One nods, the other pretends to chuckle, Note the way raised eyebrows, rolled eyes suggest a strange mirroring of non-existent conversations. Is it obvious to the woman in the front row (third seat from the left) when Peasant #1 leans in to Peasant #2 and whispers You know I love you anyway. Can the pimpled teen with a passion for poetry and live theatre tell this exchange (note the wink) is NOT rhubarb or bumbleberry not pomegranate or any other treat pulled from the garden, plucked from a frost-kissed tree. Only the Peasants know for certain that this challenge, or apology is a statement of forgiveness, a confession punctuated by downstage hand on hip, nibble of upper teeth on lower lip all dismissed with a limp-wristed flip-toss of braid over shoulder, followed by another slow wink. None of this drama makes sense in the context of the play or, for that matter, in the off-stage world of Kate and Heather and the friendship neither of them ever understood.
Nikki Tate is a writer who lives in the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, Canada. She enjoys storytelling in whatever form it spills out onto the page. She's currently at work on a graphic novel featuring her father, the artist E. Colin Williams. You can view more of her work at nikkitate.substack.com.
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