The Tramp

The first circus clown was a woman.

Painting her face came easy to her;

She had been doing it for years.

Makeup made the scars go away,

Or so she thought.

Now, she wore it like war paint.


The giant red nose

Held the broken one together.

Like plaster from the doctor who believed her,

Every time she said, she’d fallen off the stairs.


The exaggerated mouth was just lipstick

Pulled outside to hide her frown.

The one painted tear hid her real ones.

Who cried only 1 tear otherwise?


The raggedy-patched jacket completed her outfit,

Oversized clothes were de rigueur anyway.

As they say: Cover up your legs, cover up your face, cover up your arms.

She had been called a tramp too…

So she decided ‘that’s what I’ll be then, maybe?’


The clown, like a waking woman,

Is always a spectacle.

So, when she took the oversized mallet and hit herself,

The audience laughed.

Just as they always did.

At least, this time,

She did the hitting.

Sneha Sundaram

Sneha Sundaram is an engineer and a poet. Her poems have been published in Noctua Review, Jaggery, Whirlwind, JACLR by UC Madrid, Sonic Boom, among others. Her first book of poems will be published in 2019 by BombayKala Books.

Contributions by Sneha Sundaram