In the circus of my mind, I’m backflipping in tight imperfect circles. Tumbling. My spine a perfect arch. The world turns in giddy hoops, and the audience applauds. In the circus of my mind, I’m juggling clubs—three, six, then nine. Quick time, my clubs become sharp knives. The crowd says, “Whoa!” I bow, then climb the trapeze. My apprentice hands me the swing. I freefall. Flying with no harness in the peaks of the marquee where God lives.
In the circus of my mind, big cats, elephants and proud horses are always uncaged, always unharmed. They visit the marquee, but nobody holds their reins. I ask them if I can ride bareback, no harness. Out of the canvas, into fields with no tracks or paths, we disappear.
There is a tear. There is a soft shudder in my ribs. There is a metal taste in my mouth. There is a harness pushing me together. I’m all buckles and belts. There is a view of white above me. I’ve seen nothing but white for weeks. Like I’m in a snow shaker.
Because when your mind’s a circus, backflipping, juggling clubs and knives. When tightness squeezes out your breath. When your heart is busy numbing out what you feel, and your mind’s tumbling. When you look ahead but can’t see the road or hear the turning wheels.
It’s easy to backflip. To turn in giddy hoops. To fly with no harness—freefall. To lie in the gutter and look in the elegant eyes of a stranger. Perfect. Bronze. Almond eyes. It’s easy to like his questions and gentle care. To feel the hand on yours is warm. To hear a hi-lo siren and know it’s here for you. To look up at a ruby grapefruit moon and wonder if it’s the last thing you’ll see then perhaps it’s here for you, too.
And there are faces in your mind. And all the ribbons that cut you start to fray. And you wish you’d said what you really meant to when you could.