Circus - Poem by Michael Cayley
Horses and rider diving through the hoop of fire
without charring a cell, the spangled girl
cycling on the high wire, the stern face
which governs tigers with a whisper of a whip,
the trapezist somersaulting from bar to bar
as his life hangs by microseconds -
at heart we fear too much to envy their show
In the crematorium
the complex biochemistry of gland and heart
melts into fire. The dead have abdicated fever,
resumed simplicity, left us strangled
by question-marks till death annuls
the cords of our own veins.
And so I choke
too late on the past. Our marriage found
no safety-net: it abandoned the trapeze,
fell from the tightrope to the tiger,
was mauled bone by bone until sickness broke you.
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