Cole Shows Set-up by Molly O’Dell

Aerial photo of a large fair
Photo by Chris Chatham on Unsplash.

late afternoon      on the day before opening
carnival workers prepare their week’s work

for the 69th annual Buchanan carnival
RV’s and duallys set up on the grassy park

a pregnant woman pitches her grey green tent
as close to the edge of the river as she can manage

the Ferris wheel assembly’s almost ready
to offer a view of the river and Purgatory Mountain

men construct railings around the carousel
dragon wagon and tilt-a-whirl

one fellow finishes polishing the apron
of the cotton candy concession

two teens tote bags of lemons and salt
to the lemonade and French fry stand

children help unbag pink elephants
purple parrots and orange dog prizes

for the game tents      Himalaya’s music
needs a volume adjustment      lights

flit and flash on kiddie swings      Mr. Cole
pulls up his long grill      he always cooks

for these H2-B’s      before opening night
and on the fourth of July      here beside

the river      two blocks from my home
where I sleep      after work      every night of the year

Molly O'Dell
Molly lives in southwest Virginia and spends as much time outdoors as possible every day. She’s a mostly retired physician with an MFA from the University of Nebraska. Her books include Off the Chart, a chapbook published in 2015, Care is a Four-Letter Verb, a multi-genre collection from 2021 and Unsolicited 96 Saws and Quips from the Wake of the Pandemic, written for her public health colleagues and anyone else tired of SARS-CoV-2.

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