Tilt-A-Whirl

by Joanne Rosenthal


Oblivious to the sun’s copper scorch,
my two little girls only feel the violent tug

of the ride, jerking them in this direction
and that, their small hips colliding

with the sides of the cheaply painted
metal seats as they sway together,

a single being. They disappear
into unknown territory for seven Mississippis

before reentering my sun-spotted
field of view for one ephemeral moment:

if I blink at the wrong time, I miss them.
But I pounce on the chance

to see them smiling so hard that their eyes
are squeezed shut, with crow’s feet

that run as deep as their euphoria
during this ninety second trip out of the atmosphere

and away from the maddening constraints
of gravity. Delirious with flight and gleeful with laughter,

dangling their bare feet from above,
they soar higher every moment.

But their doll faces cry out to me, silently
begging me to memorize this twinkling sight…

we may never be this happy again…
with our braids flying out behind us…

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