Love's End at The Circus of Grotesques
A final performance endured, lights
and music fade. The Tattooed Lady
and The Pierced Man exit the stage
for the secret revues of their separate lives.
Dressing room mirror enraptured
with The Lady’s azure and emerald twin,
curtsying as she draws down each stocking;
unblinking eyes glare from her shorn head.
The Pierced Man once waltzed the twins for luck,
spinning them like a double-headed coin.
Now sees only the swollen, drowned skin
of whatever creature holds the sea on its back.
Spotlit on an empty stage, probing
fresh puncture wounds, he bows
to the mocking velvet seats of quarter-full venues.
The house lights plunge, a door slams in the wings.
Packing the remnants of the life they shared:
coffin nails, smoke machines, two-sided mirrors,
garter snakes making their holding sack shapeless–
each memento a jolt to the heart.
At the Stage Door, The Lady waits in the rain.
A night-bus sears briefly like a distress flare–
wide eyes flash in a window, crimson lips blur,
her twin waves once, and is gone.
Published in The Cormorant