she coveted the role of queen
(a character cool and serene)
but temperamental discrepancies
(she lacked gravitas)
would not allow her to be cast
as other than the heroine
of hopeless love
the subject of men’s fancies
between wild caprices and staged despair
she was like berenice tearing her hair
since the king was not free
to pursue the princess
(such unbearable grief)
each necessary and tormented episode
and omens each so different and each the same
revealed again and forever
despite her burning lamentations
that tears would end the fable
(even you will confess
raison d’etat and ambition
will always rule over passion)

that love should be reciprocal
is an elaborate fantasy
irreconcilable with reality
at the end of the play
please applaud as the curtain closes
throw flowers at her feet (perhaps roses?)
praise this actress most capable
of making you believe this was all
a game
that she was just playing a role
on the stage
but as she retreats in the dark
(to her dressing room)
and divest herself of her costume
she wipes her tears (this time real)
and gently rests her broken heart on the table

michele voltaire marcelin

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