Juggler's World: Vol. 39, No. 3



Ablaze in his clownsuit as autumn trees,
the boy grins in front of the ice cream shop
his acts advertise.

He stumbles over his floppy, oversized shoes,
the ball on the end of his nose bobbing.
Spreading his feet, squatting,
he tosses two nine pins into the air,
adds a third as a sparse crowd collects.

The boy is fifteen and smiling bravely

when the top of one pin strikes the bottom of another,
and the two, colliding, obstruct a third.
Falling, all three sound like water-filled balloons
hitting the pavement and bursting.

Perhaps because of the boy's youth,
perhaps because he smiled even as his record was breaking,
perhaps because of the ease with which
he put the pins into motion again,
as if falling were part of his act,
part of why he is paid to be here,
attracting customers among the mall's
weekend crowd.

To the accompaniment of thin but not
unencouraging applause,
the boy again tosses pins into the air,
grins when they fall,
he confesses:
only by dropping pins
can he interrupt or halt his act.

More shoppers join the group
with cones,
and no one,
not the boy,
not pausing spectators,

not the owner of the ice cream store
is saying
it isn't

a successful Saturday.
Mary Balazs
Lexington, Virginia.

Poetry / Index, Vol. 39, No. 3 / jis@juggling.org
© 1996 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.