Short Course in Public Speaking

How easily the voices of others rise
to the prodding of whatever question,

eager to make reply or find solution.
All the while, the instruments

in the back make a quiet din
from their tuning, tightening

a peg to cut the stutter out
of a string. And it's taken me

years to learn to rein in the doubt
that makes an awkward wobble

in the throat, to fill the little balloons
of confidence and launch them

toward the ceiling. In any room, look
away from their round and pleasant

bobbing; try to see whose hands
are still stranded and fidgeting.

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