by Emma Goldenthal
art by Belle McDonald
we’re used to all kinds of sand in our shoes.
marker-paint converse, dirty laces, soles worn
smooth from years of wandering
suburban beachtown streets.
will we ever be taller?
sad carnival’s in our sights
or we’re in its?
stained canvas flags, the slow drifting music that mocks
and also yearns. dis-chords. lights
float and gleam
green orange yellow pink
blue against the ever-growing dark,
not quite enough to distract from the
dusky skim of dust and paper trash
we mix and match
overall shorts and band tees and leftover clover chains
linking hands in our pockets.
we’re full from our parents’ cooking.
we like the carousel best.
which creature will we rescue
from its plastic cage?
which song will be the one we dance to?
we reach for the golden ring
to prolong the things we cannot change.
our hands grasp air
and we settle instead on stargazing.
voices carry from the bar across the road,
all the way to the water
that we wade in, beyond
the carousel’s warm glow.
our bare feet sink in the sand,
sneakers piled on the dunes out of sight
but we’ll be back for them soon.