I remember how excited I would get as a child
whenever the carnival came to town;
Hay on the ground,
the smell of hot dogs and candy apples,
neon lights blinking on dizzying rides which played music
to cover the screams of both delight and terror,
pitching coins into bottles, hoping to win a giant teddy bear.
Guess your weight,
guess your age.
Some would run,
while others would play.
There was a tent with ladies who took off their clothes.
Wives would follow their husbands closely… the men would heave a sigh.
There were bearded ladies, fat ladies,
men with the strength of Samson,
two headed animals, huge snakes, and baby pigs in a jar..
I remember being amazed.
As a teenager, I remember walking
hand in hand with my boyfriend,
hoping he would win me a prize,
hoping he would kiss me sweet
with cotton candy lips
under the neon lights
for all the world to see.
But he took me on the ferris wheel,
and waited until we were at the top,
under the twinkling stars
where no one could see but God.
Later that night he pawed at me
when the crowds had gone away,
down in the straw,
neon lights all around…
something in me changed that day.
I pleaded and cried for him to stop,
but he didn't seem to care.
After that, the carnival lost its appeal;
I was no longer the girl I used to be.
I looked like the girl in the fun house mirror…
only a distorted image of me.