If There’s A Script, Mine Was Lost

Easter Saturday, Easter
Eve, the afternoon, the half-assed bastard
zombie, red-headed step-
child of Christmas, the cold
South Jersey spring, the puffs of plum, spun
sugar on the vine
and my son
face deep in a bee’s hive
of pink cotton candy
on the Ocean City Boardwalk.

Ocean City: dry town the Methodists
founded some time
outside of time, a foreverland of 1910, brass
bands, striped pants, everything
costs a dime while the black folks
struggle in real time, a memory
of someone’s memory’s bright thought bubble, a graphic
novel crouched in wait to be thrashed
out on the page. Ocean City: the boardwalk
thrums with all these other
lives, and I talk my pink-toothed son
into riding the elephants, cram him in
to the inside seat of a dirty dove-
gray Dumbo who spins slowly
on a glowing axis. Oh Earth, reified: with the simple tug
of the plastic lever grinning at us
from Dumbo’s center, we can choose
to rise and fall and rise again. But when? I never
know. I don’t know when to stop. I don’t

know when to go. I didn’t sign up
to be the captain of this or any other ship, isn’t
that why the pock-faced kid in the red wrinkled polo
gets to flip the big red switch? Isn’t he my little
90-second god-ditch? Everyone must be watching
and wanting to know
why we’re up high while the others
fly low, the five-year old ponytail
in front of me has clearly gotten the memo. My son
is screaming to get down. The elephants keep going

round. I am waiting for the day
I am finally someone else’s hired clown, when I will know
exactly when to go, to take the proper cue– Come out,
someone (stage left) whispers into Christ’s dead ear.


About evanduyne

I'm assistant professor of writing at Stockton University, where I'm also affiliated faculty in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. I work on Sylvia Plath, contingent faculty, and creative writing around trauma and domestic violence.
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