under pressure, i am always a mother
or a daughter. get down on my knees 
& celebrate a birthday. then again
isn't everyone either a mother
or a daughter most days. once
i was a lost little girl. she crawled
on all fours. hard wooden stage 
beneath her knees. the scene
always ends too soon. before there's real
resolution. are humans prone to story?
or is it part of the training?
cut & next scene. positions.
give us a word of inspiration:
secret, powerful, apple, plague, ice.
a mother scolding her daughter 
for the kind of boys she dates. a mother
baking a pie without turning on the oven.
the mundane is fantastic. i was sixteen--
seventeen when i did improv.
i knew nothing about sailing 
but there i'd be on the deck
of a ship. they say you're not 
supposed to plan the scene 
before you get onto stage
but i always did. i planned:
little girl with a dead goldfish. 
i planned: funeral parlor &
flea market & taxidermy depot.
always one scene ahead. tomorrow
i will be stranded on a desert island
& then an ice cream parlor & then
a vestibule. a theater
rising around me like a shroud.
tall ceiling. light dwindling.
all the improv kids sitting 
on the front steps of school
waiting for our rides. all these
headlights in the dark. 
our shadows pulled every which way.

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