On a good day, when the nightmares
didn’t crowd her head with larks wheeling in wide circles
and the circus began to wind down and finally

stop, she looked at her husband with a frown
as if to say, Where have all the years gone?
How he gazed back open-eyed,
greying head to one side, listening for strains
of a too familiar song,
but finding only silence instead, he smiled.

And across the unfathomable leagues
which separated their lives,
a slender tightrope was strung
on the unlikely strength of this smile.

Their marriage had got lost
like a nondescript parcel at the wrong address,
unknown writing on tattered brown paper,
the frayed string pulled

in all the wrong places.
A stranger must have taken delivery one day–
perhaps when the circus came to town.
But now
she recalled how it felt

to hold his hand on the high wire again.
Zetetic separator


—Anne Lawrence Bradshaw’s work has been published in Orbis, Acumen, and Artemis Poetry (UK literary magazines), and in several ezines globally. She occasionally tweets @shrewdbanana.

2 Responses

  1. Jim Lewis
    Jim Lewis
    at · Reply

    I love Anne Bradshaw’s poetry. Nice choice for Valentine’s Day.

  2. rRoland Petrov
    at · Reply

    A lovely poem, but I take issue with the arrangement; I do not understand why there has to be a space between lines that obviously belong to each other, such as the space between “finally” and “stop” that separates the first and second verses. It may be fashion, but I don’t get it. The space between the last two lines is also a case in point. Overall, though, this is the kind of poem I wish I could write.

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