Dear Zelig

by Sylvia Stout

Long live the Zelig!

In the Queen’s parlor

Or the pauper’s squat-

He’s a million faces

And all of them fit.

Infinite places

He’s welcome to sit.

Like the lyre bird,

He’s an echo for hire-

Paid in invites

And handshakes

And tea with the squire.

He’s a empty man

But he tries so hard to fill himself,

With “how-do-you-do’s?”


And, “have-I-got-news-for-you’s!”

It’s a forsaken soul who

Feels so alone

In a crowd of his own conjuring.

When the throng disperses

And the last vapid visage

Fades from sight,

What face should our dear Zelig adorn?

The mirror stares blankly back,

Reflecting, instead, the wall behind.

Not an idea stirs,

Not a thought is birthed-

Without an audience,

He ceases to exist.

An empty chair

In a vacant house-

He waits for the charade to begin again,

To lend meaning to our

Dear Zelig.