The circus came every year
The billboard cars with colourful posters
of fire-eating men, girls with hula hoops
and a sad elephant perched on a narrow stool.
The skinny lion
forced to jump through burning rings
snarled its discomfiture at the roaring crowd
The clown whose mask smiled
while his tired wrinkles and peeping grey
declared a life wasted away.
Painted girls in sheer stockings
smelling of sweat and unwashed hair
lithe on tightropes, their dreams on hold
under the spell of a screaming whip.
Beyond the lighted tent, could you not see?
The dancing shadows of panicky beings
pouring their lives into fragile nets
while a jamboree of town folk clapped
teaching their kids
it is ok to laugh at slaving sprites
and then to go home smugly safe
to a warm dinner and a cosy bed.
©Reena Prasad 5th Dec 2012