tight wire

(excerpt from Tight Wire, Mother Tongue Publishing, April 2016)

No. One

funambulism. barefoot—no leather soled slippers. her big and second toe cut deep in between by braided tight wire. no props—just freehand. fully aware of her center of mass and of her core. fully aware of the shallow tank of hammerheads below. circling. fully aware of the ring master with the sawed off shotgun pointed at her back—aimed behind the curtains at her amateur heart—and the black, worn suitcase full of crumpled up cash at his feet.

the audience is unaware. they see beauty. sequins. perfection. poise.

to add to this spectacle, an assistant with a painted smile waits at the side with her children. he will add them one by one while she shifts her weight over her legs and with her arms she sways side to side with grace, even though blood drips to the tank from her feet. she pushes against gravity because. because she loves her children more than herself.

sweat cuts a new river through her clay make-up, but that too goes unnoticed.

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