for CK Williams
The ringmaster, gaunt in his overalls,
seventeen feet tall with a cigarette,
leans on the big top. The lions are early,
the tamer, late. The ringmaster puts a foot
on the lion’s back, hand on the lioness’s neck.
The ringmaster lifts his fingers to his lips.
Look up, there are fireworks,
weeping willows, Catherine wheels, hang in the air
they’re constellations, cracked glow lights
on the football field. The circus animals, dizzy
from the fumes of a million bucks’
worth of fireworks, reel. The ringmaster lets go
the light and curls himself under. The lions bow.
And if he hasn’t died, he’s still alive.