Friday, 2:00 A.M.

Last call echoes through the air,
a parade empties into the street.
First passes a marching band,
walking in step through the February air,
humming and clanking glass bottles
in a dissonant harmony.
Next come masquerading women,
faces concealed by assorted masks,
dresses made of thin, black, satin lines.
One of them, a shorter woman
behind a golden venetian mask,
trips over a blade of ice and crumbles onto
the floor. All of the faceless women stop
to tug on her arms, until she is again
walking mechanically down the street.
Several clowns, complete with bright baggy clothes
and pointed shoes, follow closely behind, watching
the women and pinching those that get too near.

The parade concludes when one of the women
runs down the street, screaming, as she is chased
by a clown with a big, red, nose. Her mask
falls off and rolls into the gutter,
where melting ice washes it down into the sewer.

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