Colin Gilbert

Rookie (April 25 / Overton, Texas)

Popcorn And Ticket Stubs - Poem by Colin Gilbert

When the circus left town,
it took all of my ex-lovers with it.

I was relieved.

I had been lining them up like exhibits
and torturing myself with their entertainment.

A few bloomed more colorful and delicate
as they grew away from touch. Their personalities
became banners, staked to the ground by rope,
whipping with gusts of storms. Others morphed
into scaly haunts of teeth and horns.

Eyes look outward.
This training of pointing
reconstructs bodies as rifles.

Fingernails and rusted thought beasts
reach farthest. Other apparitions
hide within the wreckage –
smeared names and ghost charms.

I have never known the magic
of parlor talk and blurring lights
to keep an audience.

I pay my fee.
I enjoy the show through the closing hour.
I leave.

It rolled out on a Sunday,
a sandy outline shrinking
from my morning toast. It took admissions
and earnings from games
I enjoyed losing.

Topic(s) of this poem: loneliness

Poet's Notes about The Poem

This poem was originally publshed in the online poetry journal, Danse Macabre. It also appears in The Mattress Parlor, Colin's first full-length collection of poetry. It is archived with more poetry and other writing resources at

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Poem Submitted: Monday, November 18, 2013

Poem Edited: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

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