Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Carousel

I’m in a carousel.
The kind that spins
people to the wall.
There is a woman
and a man and a man
inside of it too,
and a man operating it.
Everybody I love is
looking down at me,
laughing. When I die,
I’ll die alone.
I know that much,
held down by my
own shadow, wanting
to touch the woman,
the man, the man,
across the curvature.
I won’t be able to even
look. I’m on a train.
I’m a tiny spider.
A tiny star.
Or a giant spider.
When everything stops,
I’ll open the only door
to the carousel and
it’ll be the wrong one
I’ve forgotten entering.


Copyright © 2016 by Zachary Schomburg. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 29, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“There is this scene in the film 400 Blows where Antoine is struggling inside a moving carousel at the carnival. Other kids are above him, looking in, maybe laughing. I’ve only watched the film once, years ago, but I think about that scene sometimes when I wake up or fall asleep. How the force pulls and pushes at you in a carousel. I remember a couple kissing next to him. Yeah, the kids were definitely laughing. That’s what I remember anyway.”
—Zachary Schomburg


Zachary Schomburg

Zachary Schomburg is the author of The Book of Joshua (Black Ocean, 2014).

Date Published: 2016-03-29

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