My father had the mild manner of a florist
He wore a single-breasted dark-blue
serge suit closely buttoned
trousers without cuffs and F.W. Woolworth stockings
concealed under high shoes.
He had a sensitive drained face
the face of a small boy lost on the Fairgrounds
after everyone has gone home. Dusk is falling
The circus tents are being taken down
and he comes across on the wet sawdust behind a billboard
the Tattooed Man taking a pee.
Oh you sad New England towns!
Bellrica, Bellows Falls
Naugatuck Nashua Bridgeport Providence.
Even the circus animals are depressed
as they are led down your Mainstreet at 2 a.m.
on the way in from the switchyards.
At the sight of your grey monuments
the elephants hang their heads in shame.
--from Slow Newsreel of Man Riding Train, by Robert Nichols, published by City Lights Books in 1962