Our circus tents pitched & Let’s Go to Italy, You said | by Lynn Finger

Our circus tents pitched 

by the river, we balance with great hoops on a low taut line, 
our tutus pink & tart. Pines sip sky, you take my hand, give  
me a kiss. Your long hair is pulled tight, dark as a sorcerer’s  
crystal ball, mine falls long brown, forgotten leaves.  

Sun overhead like beaten leather, we see the ground  soar
fast away from us, down & down. We practice  throws & 
catches, you & me, our rings covered in feathers,  like 
morning in a phoenix’s wings. Our looped arms link  

a moon above, your red bracelets tear me as I strive to cut  the 
balance on an unforgiving line. “When you almost fall,”  you 
say, “Fall more. Drop weight, focus your breath on the ring.” As 
the rope trembles, I steady, & say, “Let’s go away together.”  

You say, “Nope, hoops beat all.” You wink. We stretch the line  
higher between us by the river. We are the branches the pine trees  
looks up to. We focus upward, our eye on unseen stars.  Finally, 
opening day at the circus, we work netless, that is  

our great risk & surprise. We swing onto the tightrope & strut  
across. When spotlights flare, your foot slips. As you go, I grab  
your arm, oh how I fall for you. I go to my belly on the line for you,  
say “Hold on” while they stretch the net under. You say, “Let go. 

I’m not afraid.” Imperious. “No.” Have I ever said no to you?  
I learned everything about you, about me, then. I hold on.  
They belay the net, & we roll like pink rings to the ground.  
We sit on bleachers, covered in glitter & damaged  

feathers, & wait to be checked by the paramedics. You turn  to 
me, greasy face makeup smudged into a sad smile. “I’m ready  
to go away now,” you say, “If that’s still a thing.” “It’s always  
been a thing,” I say. Next season we are back to the big top.  

You stretch the rope taut & high, I hold on tighter than ever.  
The hoops define us, our hands connect at that continuous arc,  
hold a slow dawn together. We bend, but we do not let go.
Let’s Go to Italy, You said 

You, who I’ve had a crush  
on forever? Yes! Our week in Florence  
became summer in Venice. 
With each golden beat of my heart, I found you in the loss we  

both craved to erase, we flew into the blue light of night.  
I knew we were in love in Venice. We sucked the gelato  
off each other’s fingers, then decided  
to be all the beautiful things: sunsets,  
fireflies, dust in the cobblestones, ancient pottery.  
We rode marble horses in the piazza & swam  
in black gondolas. We played  

harmonica to bring the street to us,  
agreed there was nothing  
to say or discuss: just your blue shirt on me 
& my leather bracelet  
on you. Every bird was for us  
& the waves rippled in our direction  
like a water blessing, we knew we had it made.  
You’d been sober two months & life was open  
to us like the multi layered fountains 

splayed to Heaven. I learned that we are accidental  
& decorative & useful, poised, held by one thread,  
we can be ready, & still break. But when we broke,  
we were like gondolas in the waves,  
light & tossed on ripples, but always going 
forward. I learned that talk is words shredded,  

then turned into kites & kisses, because, what the hell,  
I want you at your  
most sweet, most tense, most giving, less generous.  
Just you, however you are.  

Let us call each other back at the states, you say,  I 
mean you’re in Texas & I’m in Ohio--easy right?  
We have the sweetness of our love, 
to carry us, 
like the almond candy from the trattoria.  

The sharp healing water  
in our wounds, our words are the prow. We build this.  Back 
in the states we take different flights out of LaGuardia. 
I call you, once landed.  
I watch the sunset 
against night blue sky  
like Venice upside down, 
water above, land below.  
Finally you answer, & your voice resonates 

like the arrow of our arc together.  
You say, to me, I took a different 
plane. Guess who’s in Ohio now.  

We look into each other. This 
place is our gondola, & we join the 
sea. Just my leather bracelet on you,  
& your blue shirt on me.


Beeper Peddle is a writer and healer living on the East Coast. She lives with her partner and their beloved soul puppy. Beeper writes about sorrows, lies, and deep loves. When you read her work, you will dip down into her heart and end up in all manner of body parts. Should you find yourself reflected in these words, it is merely coincidence; however, it does not surprise her you share the same heart. Find her at bethpeddle.com and @beeperpeddle on Twitter and Instagram

Lynn Finger’s (she/her) poetry has appeared in Ekphrastic Review, 8Poems, Perhappened, Twin Pies, Book of Matches, Drunk Monkeys and is forthcoming in Resurrection Mag. Lynn is an editor at Harpy Hybrid Review and works with a group that mentors writers in prison. Follow Lynn on Twitter @sweetfirefly2.