My Three Days Working as a Clown
I couldn't handle the fear. I thought it might be laughs,
but there is sheer terror in minimum wage. The children
would scream as if they were attempting to heat their throats
with noise. I'd take off my nose and hair and that seemed
to make them feel like a skeleton was taking off its bones
right in front of them, the horror of subtraction. If I spoke,
it was worse, my noise shaky and awkward, so that I just
remained silent and frightened myself, their assassination
stares, my time-clock waiting, their clutching at hips,
my desperation for rent, something hilarious in it all.
Ron Riekki wrote U.P.: a novel (Great Michigan Read nominated) and edited The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book), Here: Women Writing on Michigan's Upper Peninsula (2016 Independent Publisher Book Award), and And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press, 2017).