Dear out-of-town opera fan,
Thank you for your kind note on my birthday.
It is just a normal day—morning rehearsals
and a different opera tonight—Aida
to Tannhauser; you are right, center stage should be in the center—
I forget these things, take too much
for granted—this is the place
where the scientist I talk to say
is, for sure, the center of the universe—though I have discovered,
forgive me for saying this, I have discovered,
and it took a year of research, large shifts
towards stage left, your right.

The surveyor, a historian tells me again
and again in Pat’s Bar,
laid this building out mixing old scotch
with sweet vermouth;
and there’s more; but for my money
geologists have not yet explained
the cataclysmic shift from downtown to here.
Some say a giant meteorite is to blame;
others talk broken continental plates;
and there’s a story about a bank vault imploding
attracting money uptown.

But wait! Black hole theories are grist for another mill.
Wait for Samson and Dahlia, or possibly Jenufa.

You’re wrong; so much real is going on here.
We’re stuffing scenery in semis for the road trip—
despite a tired crew balking voraciously.
You should see them. They know they might fall off
the edge of the loading dock. “The world is a flat stage
with horizons just a few black south,
Take a right towards New Jersey.”
I used to think it was a bar on Columbus Avenue.

It’s almost past closing time
and this year’s shows should move out.
Soon, the singing circus will put up a tent
in your town. Watch for the large grey elephants,
all those elephants out of work for the season
since we cut them from our latest Aida.