After the show (poem #22)

I look down at my bruised knees and count the damage-
14 on one leg, 11 on the other.
These marks are usually a sign of neglect,
or an accident,
or a moment of madness.

But these bruises are different.

They remind me of the rush of adrenaline as the audience comes in,
As they await unexpected delights,
of the lights on my face
and the words in mind-
of the bits that go wrong
and the new things we find.
Of crawling around backstage on the floor,
for props and puppets-
the cause of it all.
Of cries of delight, ‘wows’ and ‘woopees’-
I get all of this just from looking at those knees.

And whilst I look forward to the healing,
I am pleased that they exist-
Reminding me that you can’t create wonder without bruising a little.

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