The Day I Saw the Elephant
Pile drivers have replaced gandy dancers
And Mayflower trucks the circus, open-cage parades
Horse drawn down Main Street U.S.A.,
But overnight canvas bosses still command
Roust abouts to raise big top sails,
Over decks of prairie dogs and tumbleweeds.
There are gaudily painted juggernaut ride machines.
Smells of grease, heated white from oozing knuckle joints,
Calliopian music and rounds of happy screams.
A carney operator offers two a Scrambler car,
Teases riders with the tip of his bitten off cigar
A flick on your nose and ash that crashes to the circus grounds.
Jukebox music by Wurlitzer gets tinny with distance
On both sides of musty tented, kid show exhibitions
Mushrooming quiet translucent, sideshow shadow lands.
One sign says:
A WOMAN’S LIVING HEAD!
And inside there is a severed head up on a tabletop.
She answers questions easily, smiles and winks.
A kid shill says she’s doubled up
Inside a box affixed with mirrors.
Our cheeks redden more for her
Than the fact that we are led astray ourselves.
We leave to let more unenlightened in.
That day, I left forever past free throws
To win erstwhile girlfriends
By shooting hoops too narrow to be made. (4/4/21)
Copyright © Stephen Wilson-Floyd | Year Posted 2021
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