This is a circus

The ringleader is loud

His red jacket is too tight

Buttons stretched and worn at the elbows

His hair is slicked back and his moustache is waxed

“Welcome!” he yells and everyone flinches

The tigers come out

Their muscles rippling under their fur

Their eyes looking sharply for escape, even though they will never run

The elephants are giving rides and the children sit on their backs

Clutching the saddle with sticky hands and yelling in joy and terror

The trapeze artists swing overhead

Death defying with no net

The crowd applauds and lift their eyes upward

This is the circus

The tent is empty

Popcorn boxes and drink cups litter the ground

Tired men clean the floor and spread clean straw

Young girls hide behind the bleachers

And giggle at the young boys

Who are pretending to be lion tamers

And fire eaters

The ringleader sits alone in his tent

Before an old cracked mirror

And gazes at himself in sadness

For he realized that this circus will end soon

As the sun sets on the midsummer day

The workers trudge back to their tents

And the lions close their eyes

The strong man kisses his bible

And everyone goes to sleep

And dreams that they are free


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