I must beware of an inconstant friend
who owns an amusement park
that opens and closes without warning,
sometimes during the day—
sometimes at night.
He invites me to ride his calliope.
So I climb on the white unicorn—
a flowered wreath around his neck,
a gilded saddle on his back,
a phallic, golden horn thrusting
from his forehead.
Up and down, around and round
the music drowns out my thoughts.
I don’t think.
I just ride.
But the merry-go-round is rigged.
No one grabs the brass ring.
Next I ride his roller-coaster
with its intoxicating highs
and devastating lows.
I almost throw up.
His haunted house isn’t rigged—it’s real.
The residence of ghosts he can never forget or
abandon or escape.
The House of Mirrors
shows my reflection—inside-out.
He can see inside me.
He can see my heart.
He can see my soul.
He probes its orifices, curves, and hallows with his fingers and his teeth.
He eats me like cotton candy.
I dissolve on his tongue.
I am no more.
All that’s left is a paper stick.
I never do find the Tunnel of Love,
even though there’s signs for it
pointing this way and that.
The signs lie.
This park does not have a Tunnel of Love.
As I walk to the games
where I’ll lose all my money and not win
the pink plastic poodle
with its rhinestone collar,
he announces that the park is closed.
Not in ten minutes.
I DON’T WANT YOU HERE.
I rush to the exit.
As I head to my car
and see him locking the gate
and hanging his sign:
DON’T COME BACK UNLESS I INVITE YOU
I lock my car doors
and drive away.