Drought Circus

            Afternoon Performance by Philip C. Curtis, 1974

The trapeze artist swings
across a bright desert sky,
the tightrope walker
balances on heat,
and acrobats on horseback
stand upright as they circle
a ring of dry sand
set in isolated splendour
with a vast expanse on every side
of flat and open land.

Above it all, are flags
of many colours waving
like tongues in distress
while thirst falls gently
from the clouds.

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in England, and spent several years in Vienna, before moving to Phoenix in 1978. He pursued his visual art and had several shows, as well as writing and publishing his poetry in magazines and collections, the latest of which is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. Although he became ever more interested in the desert and its wildlife, the shadow side of Vienna emerges in his fiction and The Taste of Fog, which was published by Rain Mountain Press.

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