As a child he’d attended the circus once, and once only.
His parents, he imagined, must have seen it as a duty
to take their children to the Big Top, the same way some surmise
that children must experience a Disneyland rite of passage.

Not all are thrilled by these events, he knew, his circus experience
amounting only to the belief that the animals were being mistreated.
The whipping especially, of the horses, the lions, and bears,
characterized the cruelty to caged animals that should be roaming free.

Eventually, despite his misgivings, when he’d followed the crowd mentality
and dragged his own children to the circus, they’d had the misfortune
of going on the day Tyke the elephant had been shot to death
after trampling his trainer and breaking free in Kaka‘ako.

The trauma of that violence had turned him permanently against circuses,
and he said “No” to his grandchildren when they begged to go see one.

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