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Cirque DHiver

 Across the floor flits the mechanical toy,
fit for a king of several centuries back.
A little circus horse with real white hair.
His eyes are glossy black.
He bears a little dancer on his back.
She stands upon her toes and turns and turns.
A slanting spray of artificial roses is stitched across her skirt and tinsel bodice.
Above her head she poses another spray of artificial roses.
His mane and tail are straight from Chirico.
He has a formal, melancholy soul.
He feels her pink toes dangle toward his back along the little pole that pierces both her body and her soul and goes through his, and reappears below, under his belly, as a big tin key.
He canters three steps, then he makes a bow, canters again, bows on one knee, canters, then clicks and stops, and looks at me.
The dancer, by this time, has turned her back.
He is the more intelligent by far.
Facing each other rather desperately— his eye is like a star— we stare and say, "Well, we have come this far.
"

by Elizabeth Bishop
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