Mother I've Left for the Circus.


mother, I’ve left for the circus.

mother, I won’t be home

when supper is ready, the sound

of the cow bell, the porch light left on.


mother, I won’t be back

to tend to the garden.

I won’t collect the eggs from the hens.

mother, I will not be home again.


mother, I’ve left with with the circus.

mother, I’ve lost my thumbs.

mother, I’ve burned my bridges.

when the circus calls, one must come.


I spend my days sweating in trapeze tents.

I sit with the lions and tickle their gums.

I don’t have favorites but if I did,

the sharp-teethed, they’d be the ones.


mother, I feel best in the lamp light.

mother, I’m best outside the drawers.

mother, I’m best amongst the bearded ladies,

camp fires, clowns, and whores.


curl a palm around bent faces

feel lives beating inside drums

steady as a ship through night,

hands pulled my pocket, said, come.


mother, I’ve run off with the circus.

mother, I’m not coming home.

mother, I’ll rest my head on train cars.

not to worry, I’m not alone.


Photography by Adam Coleman

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