Circus Truths in Five Acts


Notice how even the ringmaster, dazzling in his sequined ensemble, is unsure of his talent: the whip firmly in hand, the frantic pacing in a round cage with a squat stool in hand, a fixed eye on seemingly harmless yawning cats.


I’ve never witnessed a trapeze artist who fell to the floor or ripped through the safety net. The Flying Mariachi Brothers claim an act of flawless aerial acrobatics. I know this to be untrue. There is one in every family who falls short, the one whose judgment nobody trusts. Blackballed, he’s the one chosen to sail across the big tent, launched from a cannon like a human warhead.


Chihuahuas jumping in a side ring. Pachyderms slowly parading the oval. Fire eaters, jugglers and the constant antics of clowns. Side shows disguised as entertainment, choreographed to distract us, paving the way for the chameleon-in-a-box and glow-in-the-dark swords; ADD trinkets designed to extort the green from your wallet.

Thad DeVassie’s prose poems and short fiction have appeared inWest Branch, Sycamore Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Concho River Review, and The North American Review among others. He is as a communication consultant for a small firm in Columbus, Ohio.