PROJECT GRACE-UP

NATIONAL LGBTQ+

WRITERS WORKSHOP

The Intermission Number

Paolo Sumayao

She hugs herself cold as

she sits on a stool backstage 

waiting for her cue.

Feathers cling to her dress 

like the velvet curtain 

hiding her from sight.

Her eyes are closed, 

intent at listening 

to the buzzing of the crowd, 

the sound of the drums, 

to her own humming.

She rehearses her tune, 

little by little, 

until the man calls for her.

It is time.


An orchestra of beer bottles, 

a potbellied man its conductor,

and the muted lights blinking

all applauded her as she

went up the stage as she sings, 

with all her heart, for the last time

tonight.


She was the only one 

who went up all covered up, 

as her dance company wore

nothing but bejeweled

stilettos.