The Marionettes (for my mother) They were my only friends in youth. Strung up like that they couldn't run away. They couldn't even laugh at me, their faces painted shut. A bear with a ball, a juggling clown, four marching soldiers, their heads made out of wood. A sequined black-light skater, a poodle with a bone, a rabbit Who blew balloons and a balding waiter with two tea cups. Such a curious group to socialize, yet they huddled close on the rack, caught in the friendship of strings. Every hour on the hour they'd perform their special tricks, but before the curtain was drawn, while we waited for the pupeteer, we crouched among Black velvet draped against the light, aware only of the silence we stared blindly at each other, each one of us afraid to breathe.
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last updated 01/01/2020