Neighbours never guessed that we lived in a lapsed
circus, tattered canvas disguised as a rowhouse.
Where there should have been marvels,
a circular emptiness.
I used to barricade my room. I made tapes
from radio, dial chasing the space before songs —
in the leap to record, a vestige of trapeze,
static resembling applause.
Imagine there has long been no audience,
and the ringmaster has evicted the clowns, uncaged
the animals, and lurks under the bleachers,
a sword in his teeth.
Maybe they knew. Possibly every home is a drywall
tent, rank with bewildered elephants, floors strewn
with popcorn and paper trumpets. The ring
of the doorbell the signal to sweep.
When Paul Simon and Edie Brickell married, I thought
that everything would be okay, because my mix tapes
were, between surges of static, skilled enough
to sway whoever orchestrated love.