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A continuing selection of classic and contemporary poems.

Penny Arcade

Jared Carter

Along the tightrope stretched across the falls,
above the torrents hammering the rocks,
she keeps her balance with a parasol

and prances back and forth.  Engaged to call
attention to her death-defying walk,
beyond the tightrope stretched across the falls,

the bowler-hatted men who line the wall
applaud her shapely legs, her scanty frock.
She keeps her balance while her parasol

whips in the wind but makes no noise at all.
The light goes out, the ratchet handle stops,
along the tightrope stretched across the falls

the cards collapse.  Another penny crawls
into the slot.  The light blinks on.  She hops,
she keeps her balance with a parasol

and strikes an hourglass pose.  She blows a small
and dainty kiss back to the rubes and cops.
Along the tightrope stretched across the falls
she keeps her balance with a parasol.
© 1993 Jared Carter. All rights reserved.
From The Formalist | 1993
Reprinted by permission of the author.
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