In Italy the death toll doubles,
hospital beds choke the halls —
coughs trapped in weakened lungs.
I watch the stats climb
as I might watch an acrobat
nearing a precipice unsure
of the net’s placement below.
The show must go on,
they say, reaching for rope,
a warm smile beneath clown paint,
red, white, and blue.
These swings have lasted generations.
And here, we’re digging
beneath the floating trapeze,
telling performers we’ll catch them
while silently hoping
we will watch them fall.