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Arc Poetry Magazine - Poem of the Year - Readers' Choice
Medway River, Carousel
The carousel cresting down the Medway River, half
submerged, the horses dragging.
Round, the housing there all year, boarded up. Itís
floating now, the horses turning on the water,
making sure I get a horse, not a stupid turkey or donkey,
even a rooster. Whatís the point.
the pull, the feel of flying. I lean out and look for my
parents in the crowd, as close
careening down the Medway in November half-dark, the water
close to flooding. Thereís
the raucous music, smell of pink spun cotton and the juicy
rush of a MacIntosh apple
Dad in a shirt and tie, talking with a salesman he knows Ė
itís as if Iíve never seen him before.
grade-school in Queenís County, even ours. Walking until
you could fall down, boys
the animal barns low and quiet, the cattle steaming in
their stalls, ribbons, kids. Itís night
thereís a carousel he has to photograph, two horses, small
magic thing, icon from his pictures. Iím
thirty-eight going on seventeen. We make the shot, the
for keeps, animating every still he ever made, peopling all
the blank, dark frames, making
of impossible things.
and drive and beat. Itís coming towards me,
their coarse and tangled manes, hind legs
down the river, the horses sliding, nothingís
slipping, buckling Ė cherry stained
E. Alex Pierce, 2013