Terese Svoboda

Yellowphant and Don’t Forget
May 30, 2023 Svoboda Terese



The circus so yellow and red stands on two feet,
ball balanced. Who cares?


The tickets to vanishing have been sold.


How hard is it to get an animal to bow?
How many lashes? Nobody trains
dogs to beg. Nobody’s awed
when the trick horse


is saved from extinction
to be
shot in the wild. That red.


We’re gaining on the other animals,
their fast-beating hearts,
their pounding hooves,
their circus shrieks.


You can’t hurt us say/taunt the bears
in fear
as the train pulls out.


crushed grass gets left,
vegetarian evidence,
the new detente.



Don’t Forget


Give Dad up to memory’s flames,
cook him in a big black pot
traded for carvings that took months to make.
Squander fuel
under that pot,
all those cold winters


You never imagine it the morning after,
the unruined day, no,
you spend hours looking for
you could strip
for sauce,
as your friends
ask, blinking into the waning light,
why the party?


The civilized and the sane set out glasses.


You’d prefer whimpering
or a legal brief,
an open mouthed-scream aggravates


You carry water from whatever river


and think up ritual: where’s
the bottle to shake?


Finally, the wadded newspaper
with its notices black
on your hands,
finally the match,
the exquisite rasp drawing over
the cover.
Will there be seconds?
someone sings.


It’s not you.

Terese Svoboda: Anhinga Press published Theatrix: Play Poems in March 2021.