A Carnival for Kafka

The midway is kaleidoscopic;

 a continuous extension of canvas and light.

 Hawkers bleat their perpetual astonishment

 like judas-goats over the crowd-drenched lanes.

 We move in mass; so close, we pulse in unison.

 We rush in circles. I must get off.

 Stop here, I think and move in quick steps,

 wander behind the freak show tent, take a breath.

 The Man With Two Faces shares a cigarette with himself.

 Booptie the Horned Lady makes circles in her wheelchair.

 The Frog-Boy laughs; it doesn't matter.

 He drinks muscatel with his stumps.

 I want to ask them who they are but they know the question.

 Instead they say, "This is the final stop!"

 I falter, back into the tent.

 Tattoos erupt along my arms, etch into my face.

 The freaks form a circle and mumble.

 They are not speaking of me.

 They are not speaking of me.