The Circus Dog

Every couple of days the train
pulls into  some prairie town:
Northfield, Mankato, Cannon Falls.

Every couple of days the gymnasts sigh,
and the Flying Latvians mend their tights.
It's all to do over again.

The dog sees only the hoop of flame,
clowns dancing beyond.
He goes for it over and over.

Singed fur, eyelid melting into
perpetual droop. One more skid
to the sawdust  in Couderay.

He's embarrassing to the troupe.
Nobody plays with him any more,
not even the ballerina on her trapeze

gets it. She looks away
from the dog-shaped hole
in the paper medallion,

his chilling obsession
with chance
his cockeyed religion

his furious
of will.

:: Mary Rose O'Reilley, Half Wild (2006)

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