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The Aerialist

Kate Clanchy

Having finally dined with the aerialist,

I found him just a college gymnast,

fresh pressed East Coast boy dismissed

from frosty Dartmouth February last,


distinguished just by his wish to kiss

the topmost stripe of the circus tent, sniff

sugar mixed with sawdust, trodden glass, and seek

the chalky hand of the Only Candelabra Girl.


Let me lift my glass and drink to the quirk

that lets him fly, slick in tights and lycra

nightly through the Gods. I shall crick my neck

to see him spin his new wife high above me,


her roped mouth, her spotlit nose, and

candles in her fingers, candles in her toes.

From Magma No. 9, Spring 1997