The carnie wore a brass bracelet,
he was missing a front tooth.
When he looked down your sister’s
shirt, she smiled. We all got on,
slammed the pin
into place, the bar jarred
against our knees, the carnie
pushed the big green button and up
we went. Into the swirling sky,
jumbled in the pod at the end
of the giant leg, groaning and
arching, circling and
morphing the air, whirling
miasma  of sky, rainbow, sky, rainbow,
the Steve Miller Band blaring and
fading. I loved your sister, she who let us
curl at the foot of her bed on
sleep-over nights when we were
little and scared
of the dark, the hairy animals
under the bedslats,
she who always greeted me
at school with a smile,
mooching quarters for a
nutty-buddy or ice-cream sandwich.
Scream, she said, scream and let it all out,
and so we opened our mouths
and our voices flew into
the summer air, and as we turned
I turned my throat inside out
I yelled so loud,
and we became cloud
and we became lead,
and my ears clicked and cracked
until the carnie brought us back
down, like a mother
settling her baby into a crib.

–From Intersection, a collaboration with Ballet Nouveau Colorado.


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