Saturday 9 July 2011

Lytton Smith's The All-Purpose Magical Tent, second selection

The Tightrope Walker's Childhood

Fear of wheatfields. Fear of groundbeetles.
Fear of where the tree trunk disapppears

below ground. Fear of ground opening
to absence like the magician's trick cabinet.

She can sleep only on water and fitfully.
Footfall is an act of brevity then she is

soundlessly at your shoulder. From stilts,
rooftops, belltowers she studies faraway,

learns to think as a wing-walker, to harness
bird's-eye view: rivers are blue scarves,

an oxbow lake fits in the small of her back,
fields are a patchwork she can fold

about her at night. Here, afloat above
a sawdust ring, the audience's faces

safe as farms distance has made small, rope
is all the faith she needs. This is no feat

of balance. This is belief and aversion,
this is how earth becomes afterthought.

Lytton Smith
The All-Purpose Magical Tent (Nightboat Books, 2009)

You can buy The All-Purpose Magical Tent with free worldwide shipping from The Book Depository.

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