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Language is her caravan

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Frosty, green through gray rising steeply,
top of the bank a big top, red with a sign,
misty, fantastical on the walk to school.

“My sister can’t express herself properly.

Imagine if those performers
were stuck in their caravans
forever. If round the back of the big top
the doors were locked. That’s her.

She’s a trapeze artist, lion tamer,
cramped clean-faced clown
drinking tea, practicing tricks,
movement through frosted windows.

Language is her caravan on bricks,
with tiny little windows in.”

At the weekend he and his sister
stood on the frosty bank
beside his metaphor. She read the poster
carefully, got them sat down in good time and at the back.

The trapeze artist, lion tamer, freshly-made-up clown
filled the top with a noise he could go on translating forever.

Walking home she opened her chest:
“I liked the mime best.”

Source: Poetry (October 2009)

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

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Language is her caravan

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