Antony Dunn
When the time came we packed up the Big Top,
stowed it in the trunk and drove off the map.

Back in the dark the glass tent came alive:
trapeze and cannon, plunge-pool and high-wire,

everything shaken to a frenzied show.
And though we'd later accuse --- come to blows ---

we'd never be sure which of our number
left the Top unhooked; by trick or blunder

let our stars seize the chance, make a clean jump
out through the countless non-doors of the trunk.

But fled they were, for sure, when we arrived.
And though we made the best of it, and thrived,

found ourselves skilled in micro-mechanics,
some of us resented living off tricks

and felt in the itch of our bad-feeling
the bite of our great hope's flight, the bleeding,

the drop-by-drop drain of a life gone thin.
The fleas, somehow, still, get under our skin.

--- From In the Criminal's Cabinet:
An Anthology of Poetry and Fiction

Edited by Val Stevenson and Todd Swift
©2004, nthposition press
38 Allcroft Road
London NW5 4NE
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