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This Actor’s Laughter

This actor’s laughter is a conscious choice,
the head’s thrown back, the lips retreat and fire
short bursts, each triggered by the one desire
to please directors, agents, those whose voice

is heard in casting circles. Table slaps
are also used, though sparingly because
excess does not persuade. The slightest pause
of hesitation, then that loud collapse

in mirth denotes more wisdom and more taste.
When done, his head remains a turret where
tired troops await the next attack, his stare,

a marksman’s, scans the dinner’s sodden waste
until his laughter ricochets once more;
avoid that sound, the wounded know its roar.

Sean Elliott

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