Circus Bears

Calder at the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Where do circus bears go to retire?

Mental arthritis slows my dance steps and

The bosses keep cutting the size of the ring

Curse me whenever’s the audience’s small


I feel time catch me like a fish

Slapping me in a muddy tin bucket

Good thing I like damp cold

Though not so much  inside my head


My brain is tired but my worries are fresh

Fears of ringmasters, hunters, false tents

My sleep gate-crashed by dreams of steel chains

Wrapped in tight rings round my legs

I stumble as I rise to dance

And these  people look like bears


So is there a crowd-donor for this old joker?

I need a patron and I need one now

Maybe the bears’ home takes Social Security;

Hibernation never looked this good and

I want a place where they know when to clap