The Circus

We ran away to join the circus.

She would be an acrobat.

I would fly in the trapeze.

On horseback, she would leap through hoops of fire

While I would gaily juggle knives. and

She would twist her arms and legs, and

I would make the great cats dance.

With dreams of fame and glory we ran

From the small town where we lived

Through the corn fields and the apple orchards

The sweet smells of fall.

Past the great oak tree and the river

Where I used to fish with Jeremiah

To the edge of the forest where the calliope lured us

To the company of Mr. Smiley

Who painted toothy grins on us with

rusty blade and hid our tongues in the forest.

Dressed in bloodstained clothes far too big

He made us dance and fall and stumble

Like drunken puppets every night for his show.

The show! How the audience of coyotes

and crickets cheered and howled

Until the circus ended and Mr. Smiley left us alone

Snug and cold together within the soft ground where we slept

Until beckoned again by the sounds of the calliope

We wake from our slumber and come forth to find

Another boy or girl to join our merry troop of mirth.

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