Almost unknown; scaling uprights:
the circus’ seasoned acrobat
who knew the balancing routines –
the huddled faces low, upturning.
If it was an act, it seemed necessary:
a staged anonymity,
sought and found in life’s tumult,
whose skill slipped, a missed vault,
which showed what once had passed for truth:
how he and his sort had smoothed
absurdist shapes of disparate folly;
silent effort mastering belly-cries,
linking the uncodified.
His absence showed the aftermath clear:
lions tore at the elephant hide,
in absence of the circus-master.
Now at show’s end, whispers rise,
and all turn as they depart the tent.
Was there dirt on his nail? Motes in his eyes?
The auditorium will not fall silent
so long as we performed at all.
There were too many watchers; and each
gets implicated in the other’s pall –
fallibility, most of what we have to teach.