by Carol Alexander

And now the acrobat mounts to the wire, mourners in sawdust choking on tears. Hordes hang crape, great guns boom, flags droop and in the bars, there is a reek of rage. A few dried leaves, children kicking conkers down the lane, let out early: no heart for anything at all. Suspension of the sun as it was formerly known. Whispers. Click of marbles on the rug, stifled moans. Would someone let that dog out, please. Wet muzzle in earth, paws scattering leaves.
Coincidence of cake and blood, wax candles and eternal flame, candied violets, gold heart nestled in its velvet box. Children grow ill, cheeks smudged with the rouge of fear. Another slice: it only goes to waste. Many happy returns, but not of this day. We were at the shop, the bank, the lower field, the mess hall, the local firing range; we saw him once, lucky man, waving from his motorcade in the Fifth Avenue haze.
Mourning becomes us; from its putrid loam we thrive. In every street glow the blue lights, women dandling whiskey on their knees, a baby sobbing in its crib. The moon forgets to rock us into sleep. A gold charm on the tongue is cold but soon becomes quite warm. Curious things, death and birth: a snake devouring its tail. Watch him mutely falling, slain; breathe smoke of autumn fires from the barrel of a gun. Night-bruised men of the carnival are already tearing down.

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