A Carousel, but on Fire

It’s easy to occupy myself if I pretend
to enjoy gently turning, the expected
edge of every new horizon. New
like an old joke I keep telling myself,
laughing, turning, turning, laughing.
It’s funny.
Because experience and maturity,
a care and temperance for others
has kept me in the kitchen,
dutifully chopping kale for my selfish husband
while I fantasize of a cashier
nearly ten years younger than me
with a bright gold ring
in her perfect nose. I reach out and touch
the image and it turns
into a book of matches. Her hair is shaved on the side
and she wears a backwards floral baseball cap.
I’m turning
the organic brussel sprouts in the oven and thinking
of her wide mouth licking my hairy armpit,
my stomach just begging to remember its tautness.
It’s her I want, but not really. It’s the mirror
held up, the reflection of a previous self
ragged and unmoored in a flammable world.

Brittney Scott’s first collection, The Derelict Daughter (2018), was selected as winner of the New American Press book prize. She is also a recipient of a Joy Harjo Poetry Prize and a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Missouri Review, Best New Poets, Prairie Schooner, The New Republic, Narrative Magazine, Cincinnati Review, Linebreak, and elsewhere.

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