“Come Marvel at Barnum’s Diminutive Prince”

This poem was first publish in NonBinary Review #16, an issue dedicated to poems on Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s The Little Prince.

Come Marvel at Barnum’s Diminutive Prince

PT Barnum took him in,
recognized the tike
for what he was,
the “World’s Smallest Prince,”
as evidenced by his size
and the lack of princes
around at the time
for comparison.

The Prince said he had placed
his rose under glass.
Yes, said Barnum, that’s best,
as a stage or cage
makes meaning: a relic
is grotesque
when not within
a reliquary.

PT described the monstrance
and the philatory, as well
the locket, practical
concerns, like what distance
people need be kept
from what they want,
how much to charge
for admittance.

What would PT give him?
the Prince asked. The glass,
of course, PT replied,
plus whatever appointments
he desired. A fox?
A snake? Of course. And
a telescope to hold his
world within.