Apr/May 2005 Poetry Special Feature

Carnival Whore

by Patricia Parkinson

Carnival Whore

She sucks blue cotton candy through her teeth
and sways to the sounds of the midway.
Frantic, handholding, parents and children,
groups of teenagers who
giggle and glance
at hard nipples and low slung jeans.

The cotton candy crystallizes on her tongue.
She rubs the rocks against the roof of her mouth.
The man at the ball toss adjusts the bowling pins.
One, on the back inside, wobbles.
She blows aqua through her lips.

He's wearing a t-shirt,
"Mustache Rides," it says.
A dollar figure is crossed out.
"Free" is in its place.
She can't see his upper lip through the hair.

It would be soft, she thinks,
and remembers a balloon,
the sound it made
when it left her hand.

The strong man trimmed his beard.
It felt sharp and prickly,
like rubbing against stucco.
"It's essential, for definition," he said,
flexing his hairless body,
posing in the mirror, never looking
at the shards of glass.


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