Poetry by Tracy Marks

Walking the Tightrope

copyright 1972 by Tracy Marks

 
When Henry McKenzie
of Barnum & Bailey
slipped
from the tightrope,
he hung for a moment by one hand,
suspended
over the netless ground.

I knew such terror
at six years old,
abandoned in department store
basements,
wailing unheard or unheeded
in a private room
at the end of a long
hallway.

Perhaps he was
lucky- to die
so soon after he lost
his footing.

But I, shaky
in my Libran balance,
plant each foot
on the wire,
flap arms
like a fledgling,
distrustful
of my new appendages,

waver to the right
and left,
afraid to fall
or miss the net,
afraid there is no net,
afraid I'll die in a
flash like
Henry McKenzie

(with the ground
only six inches
below me)





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