Hail

Stop shooting all those clowns!  I can’t even walk down the street
without someone loading the clown cannons up and opening fire.
They hurtle, head first, their little white bald spots polished
like warheads.  It takes twice as long to get anywhere
when I have to dodge the hail of day-glo pajamas and orange
fright wigs.  Every one of them went to clown school, spent years
mastering timing and amplitude, learning the way of the seltzer
and pie, and all so they could be stuffed down a barrel and lobbed
at the likes of me.  It seems an expensive way to run a war.

 

Eager

The baby dolls march in rubber phalanxes
as throngs of stuffed animals leap and cheer,
throw plastic flowers and jounce their balloons.
No one will mess with us when they see
the precision with which our baby dolls snap
their heads to the left on cue, stop and say Mama
in perfect unison, then march on, saluting
the friendly formations of clown bombers.

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Dennis Caswell is the author of the poetry collection Phlogiston (Floating Bridge Press). His work has appeared in Crab Creek Review, Poetry Northwest, Rattle, and assorted other journals and anthologies. He lives outside Woodinville, Washington and works as a software engineer in the aviation industry. He is inordinately fond of Bassetts jelly babies.