R o s e   A u s l a n d e r

Dream Circus

Every night, my Grandpa Charlie
did a headstand
on the handlebars of his bicycle
and wheeled backwards
through time.
No one ever saw him
in his orange plaid pants and red suspenders,
his feet heel to heel in white spats,
standing upside down
on the Russian sky,
balancing the czar’s entire mounted army
in one hand
and his own father and mother in the other,
rolling blindly out of Kiev
into moonless Brooklyn nights
for thirty years,
before he
bled dry from juggling
the sharp hooves of home.