Holy Cross Fair
The thirteen-year-old boys arrive at dusk,
with fives and singles stuffed in their pockets.
They’ve come to throw darts at
underfilled balloons that poof
when they break.
They’ve come for god’s greasy thumbprint
on the hot paper cones of French fries.
One of them calls out,
Hey Rachel, to the gaggle of flat-chested girls
who run back and forth.
In the cafeteria,
the bursting hot dogs
steam in a vat of water,
and Mrs. Costas, in a running suit,
plucks them out with tongs.
The grown-ups sip beer out of paper cups
as consolation for having lost their
virginity long ago.
At dark, the giant Octopus puffs and rises,
its red lights chase its white lights.
The older teens with tattoos show up,
smoking cigarettes—the girls
with their dark mascara, the boys’ arms
around their necks
almost touching their breasts.
Two middle-aged women, Connie and Linda,
jitterbug on the blacktop to a song
by the Working Stiffs:
they sway and swing low, as only sisters can,
from all that practice in their basement
during their hard-scrabble years
back in Mechanicsburg, PA.