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Poor lovers, we know our parts none too well,

nor our cues. We kiss in the dark, backstage,

under the glow of EXIT, near stacked chairs.

Music emanates from an orchestra pit out there

in the lights, in the heat, and we strain to hear

through velvet the arrow that points to our time

to stumble out, screw up, a thousand sleepless

eyes gazing, papers rustling, no applause but

the rain falling in sheets across the theater roof,

gurgling in downspouts in the wet real world

where you and I really met and decided, somehow,

we were actors, our places masking-tape X’s,

our words prearranged in the hush of what’s not.

Aaron Belz has published poetry and essays in journals ranging from Boston Review to World Magazine to Books & Culture to the San Francisco Chronicle. His books include The Bird Hoverer (2007), Lovely, Raspberry (2010) and Glitter Bomb (2014). He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Photo: Death to the Stock Photo

Aaron Belz

Aaron Belz has published four books of poetry, the most recent being Soft Launch (2019). He lives in the City of St. Louis with his wife, journalist Araceli Cruz, and their dog, Wikus.