by Tanis MacDonald
The man on the unicycle heads straight towards the bus and the windscreen fills with a death that does not happen. But the psychopomp’s disappointed as only an escort can be. The corners of her mouth droop and the ringmaster tries to tamp down that angel’s dram of disaster, bank it like a forest fire: one lumen per square metre. He snaps his fingers and the air buckles with the sweet stink of plums bursting off the branches of road allowance trees, smashing to pulp on the pavement. Bees circle like drunks to the carny barker’s patter. Step right up, folks and folkettes. You’ll get an eyeful, for certain sure. Just wait until I contort myself. All hail the bus-riding rube as king, even when it rains, and flood festivities rage like a brother-in-law with a rotten molar. The whole busload of sad yokels wilts when even the human calliope (ladies and gentlemen, she’s got the pipes!) can’t harmonize with the slam of rain on the roof. She’s hung up on a single sour note, the moment when the aerialist told her his plan was to walk blindfolded on a tightrope in the deep woods, the filtered light turning everything red. To spare her the sight. Turning thirty to nothing. Turning thirty-one to how the hayseeds stop and stare.
Tanis MacDonald’s fourth book of poetry, Mobile, is forthcoming from BookThug. She is a poet and creative non-fiction writer, founder of the Elegy Roadshow, and co-editor of the menstrual anthology GUSH (due out Spring 2018). She is a Canadian literature and elegy specialist teaching in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.