Carnival Ride

He stands, barely able to get out of the
plastic bench seat after the twirling
and spinning of the tilt-a-whirl has ended.
The music slowed down, groggily, to a stop
and he’s standing groggily, stopped,
waiting for his grandson to bring him
his cane. Last one off, he keeps his
eyes closed and his body still
moves to inoffensive classic
hits that play over and over
when the ride is in motion.

His grandson, too old to be the
reason for today’s ride comes but
still the old man’s eyes are closed,
his hair is ruffled from the
unencumbered movement:
the flying, the freedom.

Children stream in for the next
round of riding and the grandson
does as grandsons must, tapping
his elder’s shoulder, gently pausing
the nostalgic reverie. Both smile,
though the younger’s life still
spins at such speeds every moment
that he needs not grasp at
freedom one spin at a time.

They move slowly past children
in strollers pushed by harried
mothers and toddlers, teeth blue
from melting cotton candy, perched on
casual fathers’ shoulders and
the music starts again. 

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