Northwords Now Issue 39

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Minor Comedy Unit

by Marka Rifat

And who would expect to essay
a variety routine
to prove one’s marbles intact?

Rushed from the accident, I have no ID,
no one in uniform believes the age I give,
they suspect my wrinkle-free insistence
smacks of concussion,
so my audition begins while official verification starts
offstage.

The germ-free curtain opens with a spotlight
to make my pupils dance
I pass with an entrechat.
There is no applause.
On to the clowning and my tongue
must produce a pomp rock leer.
A quick nod, then we progress to Groucho Marx.
I waggle roguishly, even alternating left and right –
nurse ticks, non-committal. A tough gig this.
Now inflate the cheeks and hold.
I am Dizzy Gillespie, becoming dizzy,
as, in audience participation mode,
she tries to push my jazz bulges in.
The audit reaches its finale.
“Now smile.” I produce an Otto Dix rictus
and win the coveted part of
the un-concussed.
Exit minor injuries unit, stage right,
Chastened, bruised, feeling so much older than I look.