It went around and around, never stopping, never slowing, that carousel the color of night.
Its horses were covered in stars and when they tossed their manes, glittered light fell to the ground.
The children riding it wore shadows and smiles, they flung rings of flowers to those who watched.
They curled their fingers and beckoned, laughed and sang, and begged us to join their swirling dance under the moon.
We touched their hands, an eternal choice. Now destined to spin forever under the sky that would always be dark.
The children no longer smiled and sang, they wept or they screamed or they were empty and burned.
The stars on the horses were thistles and burrs. They bared their teeth and they hissed and they cursed.
We fell dizzy to the old wood of the thing, and it cut our knees.
We stood and the poles’ splinters pierced our fingers.
The lucky ones fell off when no one was watching. They ran home, bleeding and scarred.
But the rest of us, we are here still. We smile and dance, toss flowers and sing, we weep and scream and burn.
And when we can’t anymore, we stagger to the mirrored panes at the center, pull them apart, and step inside.
And wind the small music box suspended above the sharp rusted gears.
Then we lie down near it and sleep: silent, dreamless, and thick.