Red River Review (Online) August 2014
My Uncle Del, my father always said, could sell
an icecube to an Eskimo, a dozen pairs of shoes
to unwary legless vets; could sell, without a beat,
Beelzebub himself a heater and a book of matches
and insurance, too, just in case of fire.
said my Uncle Del had paid his way through school
by getting fools to waste their time and lose their
thin and bottom dimes on crooked games of chance
they had no chance of winning.
And I don’t know
if all that’s true, or if my dad was selling me a bill
of goods about a relative I’d never met, and yet
it seems it might be true:
When I was young, if
I had run to circus tents, if I were offered choice,
I knew what kind of circus work I’d choose. I’d use
my voice to rope the luckless suckers in; I’d stand
outside the tent and sing in praise of freaks. I’d get
the rent and every other cent the dopes could spend
to see the geeks and flipperkids, the tiny Raisin Boy,
the swallower of lengthy swords, the Fishface Twins,
then send them out to borrow more, if only just
to see the show again.
I’d bark them in again, alright.