Curtain Call
by Shelly Blankman

The curtains open, footlights burn bright.
I can barely see critics furiously jotting
grand reviews, a far cry from the little
girl alone in her bathroom, hairbrush mic
in hand, on a black-and-white tile floor stage,
plastic shower curtain like the velvet one
parted for the singer I was meant to be,
with an audience of one — two if you counted
my mirrored self in a cloud of steam that
looked like dry ice rising with diva flair.

Applause sinks into silence;
my bathroom voice bursts, tears trickling down
my cheeks like the last rhythmic drips of the faucet,
with crescendos that would have made my house shake.
I can hear gasps as I reach Streisand highs
and Fitzgerald lows, my flowing sequined
dress, the color of beige roses and Dove soap.

Shouts of “Bravo” explode as I bow and swells of
“Encore” beckon for one last song; I feign humility
as I wend my way backstage through the barrage
of hugs and air kisses, paparazzi flashes and
questions,wanting nothing more than to rest my
laurels among the flowers crowding my dressing room.

PHOTO: Barbra Streisand performing on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York City at age 20 in 1962.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As a child, I wanted to be anyone but me. There was no better place for that than in the shower, where I could be a star, everyone would adore me, and I had talent beyond that of anyone I’d ever seen or heard. Of course, the reality is that all I ever really accomplished in the shower was to become squeaky…and there was no future in that. And frankly, bullies don’t care whether you’re clean or not. But every day, for a half-hour or so, I was a star. And for many years, my imaginary life played out in the shower, was good enough.


Shelly Blankman
is an empty nester living in Columbia, Maryland, with her husband, Jon, and four cat rescues. They are the proud parents of two sons, Richard, 31, of New York, and Joshua, 30, of Texas. She spent most of her professional career in public relations and copy editing, but her first love has always been poetry. Shelly enjoys making scrapbooks and cards, and, of course, writing.