A black silk top hat moves among furs
colossal as imagination. The courtship of lion and tamer
occurs, whip flicking the tawny flame.
A white horse preens and dances in its ribbons,
throwing back its head—secular, Love-less.
Sweat from the animals, excrement, and sawdust mixes
with its citizens. The moral center slides in such
atmosphere. Real fear. The lion rears.
* * *
A man and a woman sit together, as strangers. Brute
lust coupled with loneliness makes them
lovers. The universe tips, his knee eases lightly against
hers. No protest. Merely heat’s everywhere
influence on the air. An ostrich feather
falls from gracelessness, lifts with the spectacle, rising
in a wind-tide of without precedent. Free, as in dreams,
they lean. Blameless for what it may mean.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 33 Number 6, on page 27
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