Clowns on Shore Leave
I walk down Newbury Street with Ronald McDonald.
The black bird looks over the rooftop and crows.
Is it the big shoes or the red noses?
We pause at Pomme de Terre North and gape
at the window display: plump Mainers and
long low-profile Idahos still in their jackets.
Our noses are pressed against the glass,
small children outside the toy store of the world.
Welcome to Taters-R-Us. We enter.
A man in a dinner jacket welcomes us with trepidation.
He knows our smiles are painted on, an artifice.
Outside, the black bird descends to eye-level.
His caw becomes a cackle.
Snow covers Newbury Street. He is framed in plate
glass. Inside, I wander past baked and mashed, through
au gratin to the back of the store where Ronald is
transfixed, torn between home fries and shoestrings, big
eyes dilated, red hair aflame in the throes of spud lust.
We stumble out the door. Behind us we hear
the manager mumble something about 'potato junkies'.
Ronald turns to fight but I grab his elbow and things
return to normal,
two clowns, arm in arm, flip-flopping down Newbury,
honking at every passer-by, perpetual smiles.
Above us, the black bird reclaims the rooftop.