[39] Hard to Face, Jo-Anne Cappeluti

You’re behind a restaurant, late at night
and just as you’re ready to get in your car
some red nose pushes into your face
saying he’s got a good one for you
about a clown, but he disappears
when you laugh and wave
pretending someone is coming your way.

Driving home, you remember when you were six
dressed as a clown
for trick or treat and out of the darkness
putrid breath in your face
was calling you his pretty thing—but
you laughed instead
making the people around you laugh
as you turned and ran all the way home

where you stood for the longest time
staring into your dresser mirror
as something you wouldn’t learn till years later
called existential fear stared back—

already taunting you
laugh, clown, laugh—

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