This is the trapeze a dream might make—
Precarious height from which you swing to safety
Or fall into your life, the swollen sea
Of calliope music where no driftnet lays.
Blessed to land on solid ground for once
Instead of sinking deeper into the whirlpool
Where you are phase-shifted to some Middle Europe
With its klaxon angels that scream at you to wake.
Their dissonance overwhelms, like slides
Of all your human failures stacked together.
Try forgetting, and life will send its lions
To ravage the hole you make—so wide,
It is a flaming hoop. See how they leap
Through to the past, that sewer that does not drain?
Photograph what you see to freeze the moments
And watch the way the light betrays
Its very gift by fading. Even the light can’t bear
The repeating, a scratch against the silence, the record
Never getting to where you want it to go,
But always in motion. The Big Top’s shadow stretches
Across the grass and changes every second,
Like a sundial, but you refuse to see it,
Hiding beneath your never-unmade bed.
Jason Gray is the author of Photographing Eden (Ohio UP, 2008), winner of the Hollis Summers Prize, and two chapbooks, How to Paint the Savior Dead (Kent State UP, 2007) and Adam & Eve Go to the Zoo (Dream Horse, 2003). His poems and reviews have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, The Southern Review, Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. He co-edits the online journal, Unsplendid.