Rosanna Lee (NYC, USA): Two Poems


The Cyclone rattled its last rat a tat tat
Roller coaster shudder two decades ago.
The skeleton still stands as testament to a bygone
Jewish, New York era.
The construction crane demolished the
The last, wiry matchstick remains.
Because at night, it swayed and made
A sing song noise that made them
Think it would crash one night and kill someone.
The last ligaments brushed away!

Today no one goes to see the freak show. The bearded lady
and somnambulist have shaved and awoken.
The Siamese twins are severed and killed.
Cut the baby in half and the real parent will speak up.
The Wisdom of Solomon is the new freak show.
It's the real parents screaming cut them, kill one, and leave
Me a normal baby for chistsakes!

Even the circus died. No one's amazed anymore.
The Norwegian trapeze artists and gypsies keep
up this desperate legacy of their sad parents.
The ringmaster parodies himself in mocking bravado.
The elephants stink and are crusty and march in unending circles
with beautiful, glittering ladies who do not seem to exist
even though they're straddling beasts.
Professor Sascha talks to the animals with a long whip, magic!
But the white horses leaping really are so beautiful, tame and wild.
The big tent droops; the crystal ball dulls to wood.

One night a child goes to the circus carnival for the last time.
He fingers the illusion and all the players congeal into waxy ice.
Feather Woman in mid-flip above the net, tiger tamer with his head
in the mad kitty's jaws, the clown mid-tumble with his
Shiny shoes on the dusty ground.


they lined the bridges for you,

the rusty depots, the
parched earth – they stood
packed together, lining
the locomotives parallel tracks

they stood stalwart for you
awed, stupefied, not
too many tears in the
dust, there was just
too much dust

and your train chugged without a sound
to what sane and sacred end was left
one day we'll grow up, Bobby.

Is it as the Buddhists say, Bobby? And bits
of you are dispersed in sunflower seeds
and dandelion roots – or are you
with the Christians and St. Peter?

We laid lilacs for Lincoln and
for you Bobby, we laid down
everything and just never
picked it back up.

© Rosanna Lee 2008