This isn’t a poker game, some thick-smoked room
to keep your cards hidden until the final ante.
This isn’t the stage rehearsal where you skip
the high notes to save your voice,
or those practice runs in the parking lot
with a map of orange cones
guiding you into reverse and parallel.
Yes, the tide will keep going out and back
like clockwork. We will always look to measure and
mete out our efforts in incremental intervals,
testing the recipe of our purpose,
licking our fingers clean. We will want
to glimpse what is too much or not enough
without the sacrifice of embarrassment or,
worse, the fallen soufflé of failure.
But my goodness, the songs we could be singing
while the light takes its own sweet time to change.
The dust we could be kicking up
as the dance finds us on inexpert legs, spilling
out the door and into the waiting streets.
~ Maya Stein