At twelve, too old for but still scared of
carousels, the horses fake and painted,
the lights electric
(not reflections from the sun,
but if you squint, you can see stars,
and if you knock your head hard
on the rising-and-falling bars as you dismount
you might also see stars, not like you’d imagine—
perfect five-point-pattern David stars, no—
but stars of a kind) and if you did ride,
succumbing to the rise and fall, your horse
would be too tame despite its flashing teeth,
it would be wooden and inert and unkind,
and the disapproving onlookers would appear
every time around, their faces knotted blurs
as if on the next orbit you might break free
and take the horses with you
up over the snack bar
all the way into the long parking lot.

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