Page 28 - Vol. VI #10
P. 28

Introducing the Acts
ca. 1930
We have come from places far flung as a spent match for your entertainment. We seek applause,
not approval. Lucre, not love. A simple exchange
of currencies. You want something peculiar.
We want bread on our tables, a warm body in bed. The right kind of familiar.
If you’ve come to see sadness, turn away now. Here, we’re always laughing, like Sarah,
at the absurdity of God. If you’ve come
to be reassured of your place, you’ll find
no assurances here. Instead, you will learn
how we make miracles easy—the one glamor we have.
Here is the Ape Woman. She’s a coin to call home.
The Tattooed Lady’s a pill that brings the sleep you have when you’re sick. Clammy, not glamorous.
Camel Girl is a riddle, humping her way to her own astonishing sphynx. The Chimera’s the devil’s.
She’s circus weather. The Twins are a sneeze.
At the bar, the giant sets up one more round.
If you can out-drink this Amazon, you’ll win twenty pounds. In the stable, a gross queen and her stump of son—
the Mule-Faced Woman, more filly than femme.
Don’t try to ride her. In a battle of wills, she’ll always win. Now, here’s something to write home about:
the Modern Medusa—she’s certified. She’s the sound of hands brushing the skin. She’ll give you
nightmares for days. Come to think of it, so will we all. Imagine us uglier! We’d have to hike up our fees,
not just our skirts. Boy, if we had a dime for every time a doctor offered a cure
or a preacher prayed over our limbs, we’d be paying you to show us some skin. As it is, nearly destitute,
we live by your dreams. We’re whatever you want
us to be. Come see us mythic and brooding.
Come see us staggered and woozy. We’re your drug, your garden of sin.
rebecca croSS

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