by Jordan Barrant
at the carnival we suck on sweet cotton,
whirl around screaming for our forefathers
for childhood, for remembrance. gappy teeth
flash, once, maybe twice and then close.
in the bathroom a woman is holding her child
singing to her softly, maybe that baby won’t hear
the cars tumbling down at full speed. maybe
the chlorine won’t crawl across her skin
choking her. and when I look at the baby
those big brown eyes, the show begins
a wheel orbiting around her eyes, full stop.
and this is the surprise: a man hops out of the box
he is going to cut her in half, and we will clap,
cheer as he slices and pulls her apart
and she is staring at me; is this the show?
and maybe the man will call on me
to place down my drops of black and white
atop my pile of raffle tickets, step back and toss––
loop the ring on the bottle, claim our prize:
the sweet children we cottoned on at the carnival.