At the Circus

By Umberto Fiori Umberto Fiori

Translated By Geoffrey Brock

At the center of the lit circle, rising
from cotton-candy calf muscles,
the White Clown ushers his
eyebrows skyward. He grates his ukulele,
opens a heart-shaped mouth, inhales—
his serenade begins.

Now's the time. From the shadows,
a blast like a trumpeting elephant:
obscene, ragged. The Auguste capers like a fawn,
darts away, pads around
with his trombone. The gold of the slide
slips into and out of the infinite.

Everything smells of panther
and piss and mint. His gaze fixed
on the clash between the welled tears
and the awful laughing shoes,
the little boy grows
ever more grave, ever more severe.

Source: Poetry (December 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2007


Umberto Fiori was a singer/songwriter for the rock group Stormy Six, who recorded several albums and toured widely in Europe, and continues to write songs, operas, and pieces for orchestra and voice. He is the author of four collections of poetry.

Continue reading this biography

Poems by Umberto Fiori

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Youth, Coming of Age


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