The cold metal of the bars defies the night’s warm breeze.

I should not be lost, though I am.

Before me, the darkened hulk of curves and shapes seems to hum.

I can imagine laughter, screams, like echoes.

Not a single light is on.

The boardwalk between myself and the carnival is defiantly dark.

‘Closed per orders of Mgmt.’

I don’t understand.




The fortune-teller’s box is lit—the only thing—so I go.

“I have money. I walked here,” I tell her.

Green gown, blue eye-shadow, angled earnestness.

“Unfortunate,” she replies, head tilted down. As if in sorrow.

“I’ve done what…” I begin, certainty fading suddenly.

“It’s not in the cards,” she says, a light bulb above blinking on.

Quiet hum of motors, arms moving, breeze against the glass panes.




“Can’t I just?” I start, gesturing to the fencing, meaning to climb over.


I leave her box and return to the metal gates. ‘Desperation’ meets ‘stymied.’

The rides are so much fun—I know it.

On the left, the pale arc of a towering loop. Swallowed by darkness.

Where are the workers, I wonder.

How can this be on a Friday night?

Beyond the loop, across the water, a hospital looms.

Brightly-lit brick, straight lines, cold demeanor.

Lights in every window.

An ambulance rolls up, its red lights blinking through the median trees.

Silent, tires on wet pavement, no urgent voices. It disappears.

Night breeze, waves lapping.

The thrum of distant machinery.

I sniff, trying for buttered popcorn, cotton candy.

“Grow up, Boy.”

Just the fortune-teller.

My mouth forms the words—denial, rejection.

No thoughts emerge, turned as I am, facing the place of dreams.


Sketch of a darkened ferrias wheel, roller coaster and more for Justin Edison's poem 'LP1.'

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