so i ran away from home and joined the circus. i was part
of the Disappearing Girl act. the other girls i worked with
were all beautiful, with paper-thin skin and huge black circles
under their eyes, like skinny pandas that wore pink feathers
and skin-tight lycra suits in neutral colors like Homogenous
Crowd Beige and Television Static Gray. my job was to bring
them plates of food, steaming platters of roast beef and lobster,
cream sauces in pink and white, mountains of mashed potatoes
and tiramisu so big it would almost brush the top of the tent.
the act would be seeing which one could hold out the longest,
who could disappear first. i would parade cartons of french fries,
pausing just long enough to hold them under each girl’s nose,
and watch them sweat and blink rapidly, teetering right on
the brink of bingeing. pancakes slathered in syrup were next,
replete with bacon strips spelling out EAT ME. sometimes this
went on for days: the audience members knew to bring blankets.
then eventually the cue would come and the janitor would
waltz in, dressed like Ronald McDonald, and sweep up the piles
of bone and dust, and the people would file out, feeling
lighter than ever.