(The Manikin, 1791, Goya)

Well, look at you, limp clown, poor fool, at the whim of 
four young women who toy with you on their makeshift 
blanket trampoline -- they toss and toss you up between 
them to watch you fall back down as they play their care- 
less game of power -- their rag-doll boy, their handsome 
toy, while they hold the blanket-corners tighter so you'll 
bounce higher. 
                           Their dark eyes shine; their faces flush. 
Time and again you fill the yellow air with your clumsy 
grace -- positioning comical so they will laugh at you 
while you stagger-dance your legs and flail your arms 
and twist your head around in shock-face helplessness. 
Each time the low sky catches you, it throws you back 
to them, until some late and moody chill of air cramps 
to their hands, and some darker game occurs to them. 

Copyright 2001, Joyce Odam 

Joyce Odam, Sacramento CA: Editor of Poetry Depth Quarterly. Latest 
chapbook: "Among the Others", Talent House. Published in: Blue Unicorn; Ekphrasis; Listening Eye; One Trick Pony; Pearl; The Sow's Ear; Wormwood Review. Recent (9/2000)1st place winner first quarterly New River Poets competition (FL State Poets Ass'n.)