Wednesday Jun 19

Lesley Dauer’s poems have appeared in numerous magazines, including Poetry and Grandstreet, and several anthologies, including American Poets: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon UP) and The New American Poets (UP of New England). Her first book, The Fragile City (Bluestem Press), won the Bluestem Award.  “The Moscow Circus” and “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy” are from a poetry collection in progress: Carnival Life. Lesley teaches at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA, where she is Co-Director of the Creative Writing Department.



The Ventriloquist’s Dummy

You don’t hear me
even when you mean to
because sight trumps sound,
and you can see my mouth move.
My partner slurs his words,
pronounces “thh” for “eff,”
sibilant hissing, so he doesn’t
have to move his lips.
A father sits tipsy
in the second row of seats.
And the son held in place
on his lap completes
our reflection.  He looks
as if he needs to speak.
The Moscow Circus
A bear wobbles on a balance ball,
careful of his claws; another backpedals
on her bicycle, considers the audience, raises a paw.
The audience responds with barks and yowls.
A cub dressed for ballet throws
his ballerina sister in the air,
catches her, notes the audience’s awe.
The bears take their final bows,
and the audience is wild—
the smaller ones yelp, the larger ones howl.
Covered in fur from boot to hat,
the audience lumbers back into the tundra.
Still standing, warm in the truncated hugs
their bodies allow, the bears say a soft farewell
instead of good riddance to their captors,
the freezing animals who brought them here.