Love makes the wheels go round— as in, your heart is a vehicle
conveyed through small towns, worn-out suitcase you drag, only
stopping at the fair for pickled eggs, magenta jar of luck & hope.
Those tiny bobbing heads, kraken, sailors tell themselves at night.
Here, the Ferris wheel is broken down and all the lights look dim,
forsaken while you wander round the same dirt path. The clam
booth steams just like the sea— though you’re in Pennsylvania.
The pie ladies are smiling from their perch which smells like pine.
It’s been redone, still lemon, apple, rhubarb, they preach & hum.
Renounce, renounce & have a slice. Because the night, because
you’re home & you’re redeemed. Beside the swings, you halt.
See someone you used to know; he is old, does not see you.
That chartreuse light of August glowed just beyond the ballfield
when you first came. Now the hawkers at the candy apple stand
put on their lights & all the games draw in the younger crowd.
You pitch dimes in old thin jars, try to win back the family name.
Then the Ferris wheel begins to turn and soon the fireworks will
parachute chrysanthemums into the dark. One year when you
were young, you were stuck at the top with a boy you liked.
Kids waved thin sparklers on the hill like dots of fireflies.
Hello, hello, you want to shout. Remember me? But no one
yells. And no one comes to sit near you. The carnival man
jerks his finger. You are next. He clamps you down in metal.
You ride in huge moist circles, your heart lurching at the top.
Ellen Stone advises a poetry club at Community High School and co-hosts a monthly poetry series, Skazat! in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she raised three daughters with her husband. She is the author of What Is in the Blood (Mayapple Press, 2020) and The Solid Living World (Michigan Writers’ Cooperative Press, 2013). Ellen’s poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Reach Ellen at ellenstone.org.