Pink cheeked, painted cherubs,
the carousel grandmasters,
smirk sweet from their canopy thrones.
As we begin our twirl,
the wedding cake calliope pumps
a drunken oompah, while the blip
blip deedle of Ms Pacman fades.
My horse's head is thrown back, mouth open
his porcelain mane ripples.
He thinks he has already won.
He has winner's teeth a blue harness
and a wreath of multi-colored daisies.
The zebra to our right,
with chipped stripes and a ringed nose,
gives us fierce competition,
his legs frozen fixed and determined.
The brass pole ribbons cool while my hands sweat:
After 8 o'clock it's hold on tight, or fall off,
or worsethrow up.
The horses creak up and down,
this old girl, this old carousel,
this old Cannery Row:
Our grandparents worked
here where we play.
We are a pinwheel a fast swirl
of carpet, arcade lights, mermaids,
Scarlett O'Hara hoop skirt birthday cakes.
Purple red exploding pastels blond
on green pillars yellow ruffles.
I think I see the black rhinestones
of the bay. A flash pops sepia
in the old time photo-shop.
The horses gallop on shining sticks,
nostrils flare, teeth gleam:
They have already won.
We have already won.
Bands of color stripe hula hoops
and spin to the center.
Nicole Henares a native of the Monterey Peninsula, antique carousals and roller skating rinks, currently lives in San Francisco with two cats and one husband. Henares has published two chapbooks of poems; Lush and Duende.