I’m reading a CD case marked CALLIOPE MUSIC.
I see the wavy-haired Suit popping it in and adjusting
a volume control as “Entry of the Gladiators” launches—
minus too-much-rouge and night-quiet, he looks good,
considering the transplant and months on a ventilator.

A roustabout’s iPhone trickles “Happy,” the ringtone
signaling the need for the next small Midwestern town
to recall last August when the tents were up for weeks.
I slip a poem about the Gravitron into a costume fold,
a rap-sonnet about outlasting smack then greasepaint.

If God is the ringmaster doubling as relief driver
for a semi moving heaven and earth and elephants—
if grief is an aerialist’s love of flight after a bad fall,
a body laid out is cue to roll credits to rising music:
acknowledgment there are only so many encores.


Photo by Max Roeleveld