Freak Show

My best friend

and I paid two dollars

to see the freak show.

Fat twins with oily

mustaches and stomachs

round as storage drums—

even a bearded lady

with a beard that twitched

as she laughed at the fat twins.

Two dollars more

and we saw a man turn

into a gorilla; green strobes

and smoke rolling as gorilla-man

bared his teeth at young girls—

lips curled, snarling, run.

And for one dollar more we saw

the world’s smallest woman

in a pup tent beside the cattle show.

A dozen small machines

surrounding a body the size

of my left thigh. Manure in the air.

An oxygen mask fixed tight

to her face and band aids

like pockmarks scarring her skin.

My own image floating up to me

in the mirrors that surrounded her.

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