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Grease Paint

when I bounce into the tent
between the elephants and trapeze artists
the entire atmosphere changes
and I am the center of attention
once again.
every move of my oversized shoes
causes another ripple of laughter
to race happily through the audience
and the painted smile shows how cheerful I am supposed to be
but it makes me wonder:
do they know?
do they know how I really feel?
itís possible they see through the grease paint mask
to the hurting soul beneath...
but who goes to the circus to analyze?
I wonder how many of them are wearing painted smiles,
painted masks,
every day.

9 October 1999