We appear to be surrounded
by Lady Macbeth, one vast audition.
It turns out we too are trying for the role.
Shall I be like Sarah Siddons –
‘tragedy personified’ – or Charlotte Melmoth,
‘grande dame’? Perhaps you will be
like Vivien Leigh, born
in Darjeeling, that town grown up
between the sanatorium and the ammo dump
like all towns.
The audition is mandatory,
but open-minded: Lady Macbeth
need not be a woman born,
you can be a fat man or a little boy,
you can be from New Jersey.
Your face mask can be functional,
cute, or printed to look like a skull.
Perhaps I’ll be like Marion Cotillard,
the face of Chanel Number Five.
Perhaps it will be broadcast live.
How shall I convince everyone
that I am sleepwalking? Have we
had enough practice, bending
among the tea-leaves, in the seasons
we didn’t realise were rehearsals.
Lady you know who, the darkness and wetness
implicit in the name, dangerous dew.
Have we had enough practice,
method acting unawares,
for the lime-light and the curtain-call,
and the notices.
Christopher Riesco lives and works in Manchester.