Black Box

When theater-ace Terry trooped down that staircase
into the bowels of the Theater Building,
on the fringes of North Halls, I noticed
he (it seemed) felt nothing. For me, it was like
a plunge into empty nothingness, some
infernal realm of inversions; several
times I almost fainted. The Black Box
theater space was always crowded on
those Thursday nights, not far from
midnight, where Terry reigned as secret
Outlaw Playwrights king- officious, daring,
beneficent or malign, as the mood took him;
& as Justine Caskey traipsed past me in the line,
vulpine teeth glistening in the fluorescence-

Justine, who we referred to as "Caesar Girl"
around North Halls, for making Caesar Salads
for herself bizarrely in the dining commons.
I spent an uncomfortable few months obsessed
with Ms. Caskey, whose eyes stretched
lugubriously across a pinched, cadaverous
face. Was she a witch? Did she worship Satan?
Did she know who I was? Yet here, Terry
didn't think she could act, & that was all that
mattered. So as I watched her, I watched a doomed
witch without knowing it. Yet I was always in awe,
slightly, of Justine- she was commanding; she knew
something. And her eyes dominated that Black
Box in a way that Terry's couldn't, owned it.