NEVER EXPLAIN YOURSELF.
Poppet’s silver shadow waits in an invisible box, tucked against trash.
A gold dress and a veil, Poppet’s shuffle and mourn; Poppet carries a swaddled golden face to the stage. Wherever her bare feet embroider a path, Poppet writes herself.
Arms above keys; breaths and: Poppet sings into herself. A spotlight lights her face through her veil.
Shadow reaches and bows—extends empty hands. The veil—sing the golden dress free! Shadow guides, shapes, retreats to the trash; now Shadow observes. Shadow opposes, imposes, Shadow mimics and leads and Shadow enacts violently on behalf of Poppet who casts.
Draw a string from. “If you’re looking for ribbons to tie over / your tired head / I’d wear this instead.”
Shadow bows beneath. Shadow retreats. Returns—no longer a shadow but a limb. It wants to cover itself but it wears Poppet and Poppet is fickle—a quivering hand along the seat of an unfolded folding chair.
Poppet’s limb fights with Poppet. A collaboration of horns. Poppet’s eyes are shut; her limb’s eyes wide.
Paper bird, will you still love me if I cover the fact and whisper?
Hooded Poppet stands center stage; her limb plays—she puts on the gold face.
Not silent it’s movement. “I am a shadow / But I am not your ghost / No I am not your shadow.”
[ Poppet is Molly Raney. Shadow / Poppet’s limb is Nina Joly. Quoted lyrics from “Fabricated Hearts” and “Rattle Coins My Bones” by Molly Raney. Photo of Poppet and Shadow.]