Contortionists could fit inside the curve of her spine



Following a crazy intermission
where weightlifting jugglers hurled
dainty pillows of popcorn
into awaiting customers’ mouths
The audience settles soundly into
the small tent to enjoy
the strange performances
Part II

The next player to grace the stage
walks out in her birthday suit
to the amazement of the crowd
Before the chauvinists and innocent
imitating children raise catcalls of protest
or approval
Her eyes undress each one
and they sit quietly
silent like terrified schoolchildren

She has glitter on her brow
like she was punched soundly
in the eye by a pixie
maybe in a rivalry
over children’s wishes
or a painful breakup

But the main attraction
on her physique is the
children’s story tattooed into her flesh
She wears wrapped about her body
a weaving of emblems that only takes shape
in the way that constellations do:
that is to say
occasionally random
but mostly spread as if throwing spent
raisins at the wall and tracing what sticks.

‘All in the attempt to gain superpowers’
they will say afterwards

She asks for anyone brave enough in
the audience to step forth
and fire a gun directly into her breast
Of course under which the heart is located
for those who didn’t know

A boy of no more than twelve steps
toward the great ring
As if he has tormenting older brothers
many of them
or that in a few short seconds
he has developed a crush on the performer
and believes the fastest way to her heart
is shooting it full of

“Fire whenever you’re ready”
she whispers
He steadies his hand
and squeezes the trigger
Nothing happens
With a barely perceptible gesture
the inked lady indicates with her
thumb what he did wrong

He presses down the hammer
and pulls the trigger once more

A bullet goes flying at the maiden
with lucky prepubescent aim
making a break directly for her aorta
yet it never touches her skin

As it nears her torso
the tattoos spin from her body
unraveling into zodiac shapes
They take the bullet from the air
and cradle it
almost gently
to the ground

she exits the tent
with the sound of the spent bullet
still clinking against the earth
But as she left
those closest to the entrance
could swear they hear her utter

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