In her body—
Each night a secret circus.
The roaring tiger wears her pink tutu,
reaching her arms fiercely out in front of her
revealing her nail polished claws,
doing precisely and perversely
as she was trained.
Tiny field mice carrying striped flags,
parade across the tender floor.
Skinny women in ruffled leotards
soar through the air on the flying trapeze.
The bearded lady makes a 3 minute appearance
wearing her red dress and
smoking the last centimeters of a cigarette.
Doped up elephants saunter their heavy bodies
around in circles,
trapped in hell and soulless.
After the show, the tiger declines requests for interviews.
Tickets to this show
are sold on the black market
by shady business men in back alleys.
After the show, minimum wage workers sweep
the littered aisles
enough to hide the filth ̶
sliding empty containers and spilled things
into dark invisible crevices.
Then morning comes again,
the girl awakens,
all three eyes wide open.
Pink princesses and sequined wands
make material things feel more real
Soft stuffed animals with loose joints
paw the surface of her skin,
some kind of strange reassurance.
Jennifer Lothrigel is a poet and artist residing in the San Francisco Bay area. Her work has been published in Trivia - Voices of Feminism, Narrative Northeast, Poetry Quarterly, Firefly Magazine, Cordella Magazine, We’ Moon and elsewhere.
When he had finished writing, and crossing out
and standing and rewriting, and looking
out his window, and feeling the sun
I stood and watched you sleeping, had
stood there watching for nearly five minutes in
the shadow of the
hallway for nearly five minutes of circus
time before I dropped your purse on the chair, quiet as death
If I could, I’d use
my recently purchased cell phone
to call the pay phone outside
the community swimming pool
in Fairview Park, Normal, Illinois,
that summer when I was eleven,
and the country 200.
It was the night we were told we couldn’t pretend we were Catholic.
The priest turned only toward you and said, “It’s between you and God.”
And you cried.
I dream of her,
childish and illogical,
straight hair and tiger-eyes.
My punk-rock gothic-pixie little sister fourteen fresh faced
We listened to The Cure during art class Made bongs and pipes
out of ceramic You taught me how to kiss people who could
never love me
Supermassive Black Hole swallowed your cackle-low
Cosmos whisper pretty Come here darling and you come
I hope I never forget that pack of middle-schoolers
at the playground near my house, how they acted
like middle-schoolers, shouting their conversations
across the neighborhood as if showing off new sneakers,
the boys doing mean things to the girls,
the girls saying mean things about each other.
head, right arm
behind the back, fingers
curled around the left arm’s inner
We all live on the Hudson, America’s only true river. It’s
a driveway, a landing strip, and a dead end. The Hudson is not the only river
to become a school, but it is the only one once beheld by the likes of George
Washington, Melville, and Sir Winston Churchill.