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.
she recalled how it felt
to hold his hand on the high wire again.