He flips open the mirror and sets it on the arm of the couch,
just like every other day he works the square
coats his face and neck in white makeup
powders it
and sets with a spray.
Then, the white pants, the shoes,
the sleeveless tux shirt,
frock coat, and finally,
the sweat stained ivory silk top hat.

He makes sure he has what he needs for the day out in the sun –
water, phone, cigarettes,
checks one last time in the mirror
adjusts the collar of the coat
grabs his cane, takes a deep breath –
and steps out the door…

On the way, the usual smiles
and questioning looks –
he searches inside of himself, finds what he needs
and forces a smile, which becomes easier as he walks,
as he pushes everything else away
and remembers how to pretend.

It’s a performance, after all.

He does one final stretch, then stands on the pedestal
all motion goes away except in his mind
and he hopes that people are only able to see the costumes he wears
both outside, and in
instead of how alone and completely uncertain
about anything
he has lately
been feeling.

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