No one told me you could get paid for fun.
No one told me 11 year-old-boys could get exploited.
No one told me the 19 silver dollars the old lady boss paid me
was a rip off for the three twelve hour shifts I worked.
I just knew it was all right to not care about those things
to bark from sunup till dark,
exult in the glory of the neighborhood carnival.
A shy boy, an alter ego
flew out of my mouth
as I transformed to a carnie,
this diminutive kid loudly accosting
passersby to play, take a shot,
hurl a baseball at the Kewpie dolls,
knock down their ugly faces like the boogie men
who didn’t exist in my room any more.
The old woman who hired me paid the silver dollars,
kept in a rainbow striped sock.
It slept in my drawer for years
until I had a son and deposited them in his name.
Maybe one day he will live
my carnival magic.

Published in Silver Birch Press