The Bearded Lady and
The Mannequin
I have to clip it every other week
so that unruliness is obviated.
Many would call the sorriest of freaks
a whiskered woman, yet I do not hate it.

I'll give you a Vandyke with waxed moustache,
a goatee, or a classical display
like Freud or Chekhov. Primitive or posh,
I'll be a caveman or a popinjay.

The circus is my life. I travel round
with groomed eccentrics, never stopping long.
My lover is a dwarf. Whilst not profound,
he's witty and reliable and strong.

Secreted in our lustrous caravan
we complement each other perfectly.
He is no misbegotten Caliban
but someone warm and generous. When we

lie together in the hirsute darkness
we have no equal. The abnormal earth
turns beneath us in its ancient starkness
while we share an accommodating worth

you would not understand. I clasp his tiny,
wondrous body and he strokes the hair
which elevates my features with its shiny
curliness. We are the ideal pair.

I am the father whom he never knew;
the mother also. He's the son I crave
though cannot form. We rise above taboo,
me with my perfume, he his aftershave.

--- From Qwerty
Paul Graves
Poetry Wales
57 Nolten
Wales CF31 3AE
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