BY TEODORA DUMITRIU
Poetry lies like a lion cub’s paws –
coyly, deceivingly sheathing the claws.
Poetry lies like a young dancer’s skin –
soft and silky without, raw and restless within.
Poetry lies like a grinning old clown –
huge red nose honking loud, diamond-shaped sparkling tears,
polka dot handkerchiefs streaming out of the ears…
pitch black trains piling up in the tunnel of silence deep down.
The second the lioness sprang, the audience screamed.
The ballet girl gasped.
The harlequin sighed.
As a clumsy young beast behind bars
groomed to bend and behave and beguile
she had mastered the Circus Codes early –
learned to bow, toe the line,
sip her bile,
chew her pride.
But then year after year after year, as the lion heart simmered and lion blood pried
every time her own kin had to kowtow,
the lioness lied.
Many a funny old clown’s heart is shattered.
Many a young dancer’s dream bleeds and dies.
When the lioness purrs, when the lioness curtseys – ringmasters, beware!