Colloquial

 

On the corner stands a circle of clowns, chain smoking and explicating from behind their face

 

paint smiles.  Off duty, their make up becomes lazy and runs from eye creases and smears into

 

hair lines.  The words of the clowns are carried away by traffic sounds, but one laughs sharp like

 

a barking horse, and one is smoking a clove, given away by a shifting breeze. The others are

 

serious.  Their lips, their real lips, are tight and pressed behind their oily grease smear

 

expressions.  I watch them, an absurd little island in a rushing river of business suits and flesh

 

tone faces.  None of the fleshies are looking at the clowns.  I wonder if I’m the only one who can

 

see them.  Traffic stops to let them cross, and I realize I have no idea what clowns talk about

 

amongst themselves.

Originally published in Vine Leaves Literary Journal: A Collection of Vignettes from Across the Globe

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