Once a Winter Carnival Vulcan lunged
at me from a parade, a red-suited devil
in ski goggles, and rubbed his stubbled face
on mine, leaving grease paint
and fear behind. In New Orleans,
a Mardi Gras jester in jingle-bell cap
squeezed a bystander’s breast
while bedecking her with purple beads.
In a land of make-believe and magic,
people spin on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,
listen to “It’s a Small World,” eat corn dogs,
and buy fairy dust but also wrench
Mickey’s neck, assault a Disney Princess,
Minnie Mouse, and Donald Duck,
groping and fumbling through ball gowns,
polka-dots, and sailor suits, grabbing
the women inside the giant grinning heads.
The Bard tells us we play many parts,
seven, to be exact. Each has its habiliments–
the youthful hose, the slippered pantaloon, for example.
May we always be clothed in our right minds no matter
the costume we wear. Our revels will end
soon enough, our bodies, calcium and dust.