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The Hartford Circus Fire
By Anna V. Q. Ross

Afterward they remembered animals
howling as the rigging swayed and shifted,
a flame running up to light the flag,

then the big top sinking: a woman kneeling
for water in the desert, her skirts burning dune-high.
When only air was left, they returned

to find bodies curled into each other
like morning glories hunched against noon
and a boy scorched and spitting

to put himself out. Coke bottles pooled
to reflect the cloudless afternoon above
a mother and child fused still, another

stretched charred arms and legs to the wilted
trapeze, and the empty lion cage stood black
against the flattened black midway.





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Document last modified on: 08/19/2002

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