At the Amusement Park
Carol Coffee Reposa
Everything is slow and gold this afternoon.
My grandchild strolls from ride to ride
The grounds almost deserted.
Leaves trickle from old oaks
In sleepy currents, slow confetti
Floating round our feet in amber swirls.
Painted clowns gaze out from the carousel
Red smiles peeling
In the thin October light
While they revolve to tinny waltzes
Horses moving up and down
Their endless hills.
Nearby the Ferris wheel sits silent
Waiting for the children
In their noisy dozens
Who will race in after school
Push and crowd each other to get on
Shriek as they reach the top.
For not we own the place.
She settles on the roller coaster
Trots toward the waiting cars.
Attendants strap her in, pull the lever
Lock the gate.
The only passenger, she looks at me serenely
As the train begins to climb
But screams and grips the crossbar
With the first downhill
Louder, harder, with each turn
Her gold hair blown straight back
In a howl of fear and joy.
I decide that she's too young for this
But now she wants to ride again, at once.
I think about Ulysses.