joking about the handcuffs

the heat of the day
rising already under the
7:30am sun as i run
the curves of gravel
from treeshade to sun to treeshade
trish asks if it’s worth it
a digging fork in her hand
about this sad potato harvest
(sad meaning, there are still potatoes,
but they are too small to sell to stores
or to save for seed)
in this year that was too cold/wet followed by
too much dry and hot
and we go on
digging small red potato after
small red potato
the two quarters stacked together
like a sandwich that i hand
the woman behind the counter
for a 47-cent kid (extra small) twist cone
punching kraut (whose cabbage shreds
have turned pink from the thin rounds of beet
sliced in) down into the crock as the
briny liquid rises up

the dust kicked up by
the horses (some squeaky with all that
gear on – i know there is a word for this – the saddles and stirrups/etc)
during the 13 and under speed competition
cowperson hats bouncing and threatening to fall off,
rhinestoned denim pockets,
braids flopping,
horsetails cut and groomed
how we (meaning baigz on one side of me and
joseph on the other in the uncomfortable wooden bleachers
surrounding the speedway)
can’t help joking about the handcuffs
as we watch mario manzinini-
magician and escapologist perform
on a small stage on the other side of the
chain link fence
at the scotland county fair

the young girl freaking out about
not wanting to walk on the bleachers and her
parents befuddled as they carry her, crying, her legs lifted high
and i remember this fear
– the unease of seeing, the ground far below
and what would happen if i fell down there
how dottie’s sister and i can’t stop laughing
at dottie up on that stage
whipping the strappy arms of that straight jacket around
would make our parents proud she says
while her husb takes photos to send
the kind of night whose breeze
wraps itself soft around limbs
and makes me want to sleep outside
under its half moon and sequinned sky
this isn’t anger, this is symmetrical – line from dream
as i fall asleep writing this
slanting and blurring off the paper


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