The circus’s bearded lady, having swapped her red
sequined dress for blue jeans and
a t-shirt, joins the floating head for a stroll.
The man who is not a man, really,
a chalk-white head with jade-colored eyes and full lips,
looks for the smiling hello
he expects on the sunny main street of a pink stucco
coastal town in southern California.
The personal trainer in her lavender body suit
has narrowed her eyes to the bearded lady’s shoulder,
where the head rests, to discern whether the bearded lady has two heads or–
what? When the head grins and says, “Hi,”
his eyes lingering over her taut tan legs, she nods,
straining to make a smile, albeit small, albeit tight,
before hurrying to the gelato store for a scoop
of comfort. As the pair passes the coffeehouse,
one blonder than blonde mom grabs
the arm of her teenage daughter (brunette)
before she can sweep a hand over the head’s tuft
of hair that looks as soft as powdered sugar.
The head shoots a glare at the mother,
winks at the daughter, and his friend
titters and strokes her long, wispy beard.
A young man walks home from the supermarket
where the cashiers joke with the surgically perfected locals;
he has a bag of mangoes and a vivid memory of pushing
his teeth into the soft, firm fruit.
When he says, “Hi,” to the white whiteface and the woman in her tight
blue t-shirt (I’ve got a Bud for you),
he doesn’t pause to consider who
or what he’s spoken to–he’s four blocks
from a chair and a towel and
a knife, mangoes for lunch
and he’s so hungry.