…And the Circus Leaves Town

A Poem by Ruslan Garrey

And just like that the circus left town
Seven people were left standing on little islands in the flooded baseball fields
They didn’t even have a cigarette to their name
The glass eye peered from the crow’s nest
A broken peg-leg lay in the gutter
A half-empty bottle of Coca-Cola rolled over home plate
A napkin stuck to its side
The boy standing over it frowned
His mouth begging for just one more artificial tug on the lips
As a tobacco stained clown wig tumble-weeded by
He saw the enormous rolling eyes of the elephant
A wad of cotton candy stuck to its tusk
The gymnasts hopping around to snatch it off
And the man in the top hat shouting commands to the monkey on the elephant’s back
The monkey and the man twisting their moustaches in unison

The wig hopped into the backstop and struggled there like a dumb sea sponge, crushed by the tide
For one last moment, the face of the boy curdled,
A smile from the gallery floor, crooked teeth gleaming

The compulsion to clap:
Hands uplifted over the flooded field, (but frozen there)
Grass protruding through water
He let pigeons eat the crumbs from between his fingers
As if they were eagles

Ruslan Garrey is a Russian-born poet, now based in Kunsan South Korea.  His work has previously been scribbled on bathroom stalls, etched into batting cages, and taped to lamp posts. 



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