The Circus

by Nancy Bergerson

Rotting bleachers fill the tent.

Silently, we watch the show,

suffocated by cigarette smoke

and our own humanity.

If I could leave unnoticed,

I'd slip beneath the tent flaps

quietly.

I'm tired of watching acrobats

jumping through hoops,

balancing on wires.

I'm weary of painted-on faces

with big, red smiles that pretend to care.

There's nothing in their eyes.

You did it.

Running through the pandemonium,

I heard you yell.

"First one out the turnstile wins a ticket

to the greatest show beyond this earth,

an all expense paid, one-way trip

to oblivion!"

I waved good-bye

as you disappeared through the haze.

1997

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