It’s a difficult day at work as
She realises her childhood dream
Of becoming a star a the circus
Was not as silly as it seemed.
The contortionist folds herself neatly
Into a sturdy coloured box
And pulls the lid closed tightly
So the clowns can close the locks
That confine her securely within,
Which ends the first act, allowing
The escapologist’s act to begin.
Daring, nimble, death-defying!
She emerges from the locks and chains
Escaping the darkness that smothers,
Miraculously free of those constraints
Inflicted on her by others.
But the show is not over yet!
She leaps onto the high trapeze
Of life without a safety net
Where she swings and sails with ease,
Until the tightrope twists and tangles
While she’s still up in the air –
She is caught and left to dangle
While the audience gawps and stares.
Upside down, she swings herself low
Then dives into a tiny pool!
It’s all part of the Big Top freak show
Full of wonders, misfits and fools.
She stands smiling at the Ringmaster
Who deftly throws those deadly knives
Which fly so hard and fast at her
That one false move could end her life.
An almighty roar distracts her –
There’s a lion on the prowl!
Hungry for blood, it attacks her
Then continues to snarl and growl.
Taking a whip and a sturdy chair,
With which to tame the big cat’s rage,
She holds its gaze with a steely glare
And forces it back into its cage.
The strong woman flexes her muscles
Benchpressing the weight of the world,
Carrying it all as she hustles:
A veritable Supergirl.
She juggles all the spheres of her life
Despite her growing sense of doom,
All the while balancing astride
The elephant in the room.
She keeps looking for the exit sign
And dreams of running away
From being the star attraction
At the circus, day after day.
©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam
‘Circus Life’ is one of the poems in the collection titled ‘The Passing of the Night’ by Joanne Van Leerdam