Circus Tent

five hours away from you: each one a peg in this circus tent
erected in my lonely thoughts—
a clown,
trapeze artists
and dancing elephants parade about
twirling and spitting fire: each one is a vision
prancing about in three little rings:

the bearded lady and the dog-faced boy
roam around, the people can't help but gawk
and laugh—the women and children
are terrified, but the men know that it's like
to feel such sick pleasures. there's something perverse about
never wanting to look away from
the misunderstood, the chastised,
the freakish.

the lion tamer—the one bating the beast
until its mouth opens up without a growl;
a chair and a whip do their job
of keeping the wild
the unruly and the untrainable
at bay.

the trapeze: sixty feet off the ground and held together only with
frayed cables—the Great Antony takes the platform,
hands dusted and sparkling tights donned;
he grips the bar as the crowd hushes,
the women and children with their mouths agape.
he takes off, the wind flailing his hair about
moving back and forth
until he gains enough momentum.
he lets go
and a collective gasp rings out from the crowd:
one twist
two twists
a flip
a third twist
his hand reaches out
for the other swing
but he's just two inches short.
he falls faster
until he is terminal:
he said he didn't need the net.

three little rings: the unbearable,
the tamer,
the dreamer—only one
is dead;

but the whole tent must come down:
one little hour-peg at a time.

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