“In the Mirror” by Matthew R. Moore

Have you ever seen a drowning circus clown?
His size twenty-four shoes weighing him down like concrete blues,
His pasty makeup clouding the water like blood in a shark attack,
His desperate struggle to tourniquet one last balloon animal
In hope creation will give his life buoyancy;
This is the humor that consumes completely.


Have you ever seen a drowning circus clown?
The way he splashes his last screaming words, “I was born as you were!”
As children’s memories contain tears for all of the wrong reasons
And adults laugh elsewhere as the clown convulses into the depths,
Juggling his last moments, arms flailing as the surface becomes
A shimmering glass portal, a haunting mirror, to a world long lost.
He breathes no more. His eyes are glossed.


Have you ever seen a drowned circus clown?
Washed up on shore with a stray dog pulling at a multi-colored rope of rags
Continuously appearing like a posthumous trick of the gut,
A policeman leaning over and honking the clown’s red nose
Instead of searching for a heartbeat.
“Yes, he’s dead,” the policeman said,
“It appears he died some time ago,
Then he was merely persisting for others –
Punching admission tickets, and roaring up the crowd to go.”


Have you ever seen a drowned circus clown
Shooting out of a cannon and heading back into the sea,
His limp arms extending to his sides ever so slightly,
Like dreams finally taking flight –
The late-fantastic sorceries of the will
Streaming across the big top blue skies,
A huge arc, a rainbow of laughter and finesse
Past the trapeze gods and cotton candy clouds
Then down, down into the funny world we live in?


Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, people of all ages,
Welcome to the show!







Matthew R. Moore is a writer of poetry and fiction and currently lives in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He has been published in Seton Hill University’s magazine Eye Contact, The Literary Yard, and once had a small but dedicated bot following on Tumblr.