The Seagulls Asked Me Not To Mention Them
The calliope sounds like it’s trying too hard.
Breathless. Maybe a little desperate. Onlookers smile
but I’m on edge, wondering if I have ever spewed music
that was the slightest bit pretty. Today the big red puffer
gasps at the end of Main Street, the summer’s
Pickersville Flea Market/Carnival, with its exercise bikes,
baby clothes, face paint and pony rides.
One table is always stacked high with used books.
My old pal Andrew sits here in his folding chair
while his yellow dog, Mack, sprawls at his feet.
Andrew lives by himself, like me. Mack doesn’t read.
Nobody wants to be alone in this place.
I worry about things. That my performance here
might be a test of some sort, that E. coli could be napping
on this melon, that love has lost its glasses
and will never find me and so forth.
Any of us would swallow crushed beach glass
for access to a reliable manual, but there isn’t one.
I’ve already conducted an intense investigation,
quite thorough, in spite of my barely controlled hysteria.
One thing I know, the carnival is of the utmost importance.
A gypsy woman with silver braids wrapped around her head,
(tight, as if to hold her soul in
long enough to get her grandsons raised)
will read your fortune for fifty dollars
in a small shipping container behind the lemonade stand.
People go to her to find out if they’re doing it right.
“What did she mean by that?” I mumble to myself.
“What?” Andrew said. “That you are going to die?”
“No, that I’m doing the best I can. Considering.”
Lyndi Waters is a Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the Frank Nelson Doubleday Memorial Writing Award, the Eugene V. Shea National Poetry Contest, and the 2019 Wyoming Writers, Inc. free verse contest. My poems have been published, or are forthcoming, in literary magazines and anthologies such as The Owen Wister Review, Gyroscope Review, Unbroken Journal, Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (Sastrugi Press, 2016,) Troubadour (Picaroon Poetry Press, U.K., 2017,) and others.