Family Circus

Mom’s first word was the cannonball

she became. Shot out of moving cars.

Soon she’d chanted herself deaf. Picked up

ring toss, porcelain plates at our open mouths.


Sister was a natural, like some Roman gladiator.

On stage she was herself, and all acrobatic.

Clinical. Disinterested. Deserving of better pay.

Fed up with fire-breath and nets.


Descendant of an amnesiac of a juggler,

six scars on my skull mark my Father’s

missing hands. A Bozo bloodline.

Sideshow freak’s genes.


Four strangers and our sleight of palms.

Parlor games and card tricks. Kitchen filled

with featured players and four empty seats.

A bang, and some smoke, then us, out of sight.


The vanishing act isn’t always about hiding.

Sometimes you must make the crowd disappear.

Dylan Weir is an MFA Poetry candidate at University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he teaches creative writing. He has an MA from DePaul. His poems appear in The Boiler, Blue Earth Review, Rhino, Rust+Moth, Red Paint Hill, Word Riot, Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets amongst others. Dylan is Managing Editor of Devil’s lake.