Epithalamium with Acrobats

by Melissa Crowe

Love, let us be clowns to one another
our mouths drawn down, yes, but
every frown and tear merely
grease paint.  Let’s see how many
of us can fit into a car, a suitcase,
a flaming hoop until your orange
poof burns up and when you cry out
the crowd howls — oh, love, the hilarity
of a clown on fire, the polka dot
tie, and I make a show of hopping
on my false feet in my giant pants,
waving my arms and squeezing
the bulb on my trick corsage,
all this mock triage, but you never could
die, nobody laughs at a dead clown,
you just fall down and pop up
like a weeble.  Love, what do you say,
let’s be lions together, big cats
on tiny stools, swatting the man
with the bull whip so he sweats lead,
until he puts his head in our toothy
mouths, a daily feat, and we are
bored and maybe
hungry, and nobody can tell quite
what we’ll do for meat.  Let’s be
girls on the high wire, spangled
and earnest, hurtling to clasp
hands, the silence of held breath
in the stands.  Let’s lie in bed afterward
in our red tent eating peanuts
and unlacing our costumes, our kisses
salty exhalations, love, let us be
love to one another, ridiculous,
ferocious, and brave.