Most likely the fear arrived
with a clown too soon.

Unlike the more subtle disguises,
and always mother and her kind,

the silent siren of the red nose
said—be afraid—recalling faces
in the car pulled over,
the anger afterward, or the streak
of red, the scream-engine
passing—buried for a nightmare.

It was the latex wrenched and tied
for the monstrous dog,
smooth and wrongly rounded,
the orifice within an orifice,
laugh within a frown, worse,
the eyes already elsewhere?

Smiles and tears are sacrosanct,
new as a beating heart, meant to be
like a thumb, unchanging, not plastic
and too big for your waiting mouth.

— Rick Maxson

This poem is offered as part of our August theme: Carnival & Circus

T. S. Poetry

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