This is for my daughter,
who has always loved to go too fast,
and too high.
Every summer your shrieks reeled out
from the roller coaster,
in equal parts joy and terror,
charmed by those wild forces.
Remember when you cried
because we couldn’t save
that one tiny kitten?
Now it’s you who requires saving.
You, who cannot abide to be alone,
and you, so easily convinced by boys
I found you sleeping once,
in a house of trash and graffiti.
Your hair was feathered across your cheek,
and for just one moment,
I could not bear to wake you.
I’d been looking for two days,
and I was overcome by an urge
to shake you
You were probably dreaming of cotton candy
but the room smelled
like whiskey and old cigarettes
and I realized that I had forgotten
to tell you
that carnivals aren’t as much fun in the light of day.
There are cords to trip over,
stinking cans with circling flies,
and men with spaces for teeth who are happy
to spend your last dollar.
The carnival is over.
Please come home now.