Ringmaster by Abigail Frankfurt

say you finally decide to run away and join the circus – but by the 3rd mile your knees start to ache – so you slow down to a brisk walk and the circus is still within sight – but now your lower back – ouch – all those years waiting tables, car crashes, lifting boxes the wrong way – so you stop to lay in the grass and stretch the way one of many physical therapists taught you – when you feel loose you look toward the west and the circus tent is still waiting – that perks up your spirit! you begin to gallop until you finally hear circus music circus happiness circus promise circus joy – where is the big top where is the bearded woman where are the conjoined twins – i am here i am ready to be brave – i will swing from the trapeze i will cross the high wire – a clown – with ridiculous shoes and bright red hair appears- his face makeup is smeared leaving his mouth turned down – he says the circus is leaving town – you lived the life you lived – the one that kept you inside the one that had you convinced that streaming Netflix and avoiding neighbors was behavior you would have time to change once you began “living” – and i say “you aren’t very funny for a clown.” and he says we all miscalculate time, the days – i never read Mo-Yan because i was too quick to follow the ringmaster, i was young and squirrelly- i just had to join the circus

Abigail Frankfurt graduated from The New School’s MFA Poetry Program in 2016. She studied literature at Columbia U. and received Honors in both Writing and Literature. Currently, she has been teaching early childhood education. She has freelanced for The New York Times, The Minneapolis Observer, and the online magazine, Mr. Beller’s neighborhood.

Photo by Laura Louise Grimsley