Fire Codes

was firehose pythons
wrapped waiting
through the tent
and leaking water

we teased the firemen
wore their hats and jackets
in exchange for autographs
wore away the waiting

a circus
hasn't played hartford
since july 6, 1944

they say
it took six minutes
and the whole tent
lifted up
like a paper balloon
on fire

we learned
on the first day
that when they play
"Stars and Stripes"
it means trouble
and when you hear it
to grab a prop
and run

as we pulled
out of the lot
that night
they coiled the hoses
back into the engines
lit flashing red lights
around them