Drooping Blue Tents

we have a car
but are now so accustomed
to walking
that it sits in front of our building

we move across town,
the streets as familiar
as the smiles on their faces.
we order beer, wine,
and a baklava-like mirengue-topped
pastry that tastes like s’mores
and is gobbled up in two minutes

they stand in front of the circus sign
and we make our way across the bridge,
Reina Victoria in our back pocket,
coupons ready

for the first time we witness
the financial crisis
that weighs heavily on
the drooping blue tents,
kids as young as five performing,
throwing in camels, pythons,
and even Monster High,
holding up a sign at the end,
¡Viva El Circo!
while two-thirds of the seats
are vacuous reminders
of where people are
on a Saturday night

best. circus. ever.
is what my girls say,
never complaining once
about the long walk home

but all i can hear,
all i can see
as we move along rain-washed sidewalks,
their tiles as slippery as death,
is the American song,
“Unbreak My Heart”
whose Spanish rendition
and brightly-lit acrobatic act
brought tears to my eyes

the words
though they didn’t belong
the seats
though mostly empty
trampled out the desperation
that sits unspotlighted
in the back of every
slightly drooping circus tent

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