The Last Circus

Note: Barnam and Bailey announced today that they are closing their circus after more than one hundred years of touring and performing

I am five years old
sitting in wiggly anticipation
under the circus bigtop
Barnum and Bailey
has come to Sheridan, Wyoming

The crowd is a hot smear
of Saturday afternoon faces
The room smells of animal dung
and buttered popcorn.

I have the surprisingly intimate feeling
of being let in on a secret —
there is a world where the rules
are suspended, where people fly
and elephants walk on their hind legs
where women wear spangled
skin-tight suits and swing on swing sets
the size of tall buildings

where people are sawn in half
and then reassembled
where the polar axis shifts
and time runs in a bright circle
with a man standing on its back with a whip

Of course, I had no way of knowing
the conjuring has a cost. And like a broken
foreign correspondent, I have wandered ever since
looking for what is conjured
and what is constant

2 responses to “The Last Circus

  1. This reminds me of Katherine Dunn’s novel Geek Love, and the poems of Mark Strand.

    Liked by 1 person

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