Calaveras Section 2

Yes, families are supposed to be circuses.
Accept it, and accept that the acrobat’s taffy
of satin will twirl, and the bears in tutus will spin

over the exposes in the warped wood 
and cracks in the waxy linoleum, 
all the while your grandfather will yell

You no like it, go in the canyon and eat tomatoes.

Avoid his boots from under the Mercury Marquis.
Accept your aunt, the invisible lady, naked in the yard,
mustached and fat, fixing her car’s transmission 

by sanding moons on the body at night.
Listen to your cousin make beats
and let his sister teach you the “Dougie” 

while their mother juggles meth and late rent fees.
Accept it. There is knife throwing with your uncles. 
Children run the streets yelling while you drink soda

from a straw in a sandwich bag, and watch
morning jump through a flaming hoop
to avoid the insult of a whip. Afternoon

stands on her hind legs and opens wide, showing
missing teeth. Accept that night stays in his cage.
Remember all that you see. Memory is a fist to the eye.

From Hustle (Sarabande Books, 2014). Copyright © 2014 by David Tomas Martinez. Used with the permission of the poet.