The crowd pressing together like flower petals lodged in a closing book
long impatient lines filled with anticipation writhe across the slow-moving traffic
air thick with caramel smell, leaving your skin as sticky as a cotton candy bath
fresh-squeezed lemonade running down your throat
and down your back as the thickly-woven throng jostles its way around the carnival field
creaking constructs of steel rising in bright pylons from the pressing sea of bodies
screaming scheming dreamers washing in and out of the rides like a
crazy accelerated tide of sweating bodies rolling in breakers across the fair.
Dark empty rigs circled like wagons under attack
thrumming generators making them shake and rumble in concert with the rides
the rise and fall of excited voices muted by their mass
a still small space in the midst of madness.
Slipping through the gauntlet in a short-cut to excitement creep a
mother and daughter, laughing at some private joke and flicking popcorn at each other
like jocular priests dispensing holy water.
A young couple dash across the opening
awkwardly holding hands as if not sure how that badge of attachment works but certain
so certain that they want to display it.
Streams of happy faces flowing past the gaps seem as flat as a faded snapshot
in the bright flickering lights of the FREEDOM 2000 that are beating back the night
wind from the Hurricane Bobsled slicking back hair
the Scrambler whip-cracking around its ring like an overwhelmed lion tamer who has lost his chair.
Barkers siphoning money from the passing crowd
with more efficiency than an electrolux demonstrator finds dirt in your clean carpet
balls and darts and plastic rings zipping across the primitive booths in search of trophies
mighty hunters stalking great stuffed idols to gift their Queens.
Threads of celebration ravel into darkness as
languid columns of cars shift slowly out of formation
bleeding away in all directions as the clashing discordant blaring fades in the distance
the clunking thunking chunking rhythms of the rides grow still
and get packed away like childhood dreams folded up in soft blankets
waiting for another to discover them.
Morning sun slants across the freshly emptied expanse
timid stalks of grass rising from among their crushed fellows
peering through the detritus of this passing orgy
flattened cups and candy apple cores
lying fallow in the deeply rutted tire tracks
whose puddly presence in the spring
will be the only reminiscence this field can muster.