What were we taught
as kids, laughing at
a bawling clown, the whipped horses
a caged old lion and the outraged midget?
Was it comforting to feel
that just for once
someone else than us were bullied?
Today my circus memories
leering schoolyard clusters into shame.
But, you say
“There also where the acrobats”,
I smile, finding comfort in the fact
that there were heroes then,
like trapeze magicians
and teachers breaking up the mob.
… and we grew up to learn
how much we’d turned into clowns.