Under the Big Top
In the bed of the ’46 pickup
The family huddles like penguins
For the short distance
To the Greatest Show on Earth.
My face shows Entertainment a stranger in our world.
Already I smell the popcorn, the sawdust;
I feel the rush,
Imagining lights and music and flawless feats.
The colourful menagerie.
The big top
Revealing first the freak
And then the fat lady,
And clowns cutting capers, shooting confetti,
And exotic blankets adorning elephants,
Whose headdresses and sequined girls dazzle the crowd gone wild.
And the gymnasts with poles displaying
Versatility and balance.
We inhale and hold -
Confined in cages just moments ago, lions now jump through fiery rings
As trainer in ruffled shirt and white, stained gloves lifts his baton.
On the drop,
Horses thunder past, and stunt men, practiced and controlled, somersault
On each other’s shoulders.
Defying the odds.
No safety net.
Perched three high,
One, two, three.
The greatest show on earth,
Well-defined and executed,
Tastes of death.
Something primitive about it –
I mean, the ring and all.
Jo has been an English teacher for over thirty years, and poetry has always been her favorite genre to teach. In recent years, her students' success with publishing has motivated her to relinquish her writing, and the experience has been rewarding. She is one of nine children born and raised by tenant farmers in Middle Georgia, and much of her poetry reflects that family heritage.
The Ekphrastic Review
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