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Carnival by Laura Grace Weldon

after Danusha Laméris

The game dupes us all at first.

We play hard, scars fading

faster than their stories,

time’s twirl only a number.

I played along, assumed a magic

cure would appear

before my tickets ran low.

After decades of dishes and deadlines

I walk by windows where it takes

a moment to realize the stumpy

middle-aged woman wearing my jacket

is me. Each time my reflection looks startled

and I have to remind myself

that's what you look like to other people.

But today Dr. Esposito announces

my vision has improved.


I imagine my belly again taut

as a tightrope, arteries grown strong,

face back to one I recognize, and

a pocketful of tickets yet to spend.

Why not? Each year

I’m more hopeful

than I was as a child.

Every decade I leap higher.

Now my heart is an acrobat,

my throat a sword swallower,

I’m growing sideshow proud.

I juggle improbabilities.

They stay aloft, teasingly,

as if they could twirl forever.


Laura Grace Weldon lives on a small ramshackle farm where she works as a book editor, teaches writing workshops, and maxes out her library card each week. Laura served as Ohio’s 2019 Poet of the Year and is the author of four books.

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