Amy Kitchell-Leighty earned her MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work can be found in journals such as Bellevue Literary Review, Unrorean, Lady Ink, Main Street Rag, Salamander, and many others. She has taught at various places including high schools and prisons. Amy lives in southern Illinois with a husband, two dogs, and a cat.
I’m anxious on this ferris-wheel. The ramp feels rickety
beneath the flip-flops I’m now hoping won’t flip off.
After all the media I see of carnie’s half-assing assembly
rides, why shouldn’t I feel this way? Fifteen years ago
I’d hop on the back of any crotch rocket—the faster
the better— barely hold on as my long hair whipped
at my face, water surged from my eyes. Today is different--
I look at the man locking the bar across my lap.
He smiles. He’s wearing a sleeveless tank, jeans
frayed at the bottom. I smile back, thank him
for tugging at the metal bar. In ’89 Bill and I rode
a Greyhound to King’s Island. Like paparazzi,
cameras snapped at us when entering the park. We rode
on every rollercoaster they had: The Screaming Eagle, The Racer,
The Beast, The Vortex. We made out behind the lockers
in the water park area; he’d made it to third base
when a group of teenagers walked by busting us. Now I’m back
to today and this ferris-wheel that gives
me a jolt. I grip the cool bar (I think: I should lather on
hand sanitizer when I get off). And as the air begins to move
slowly around my cheeks, my neck, Brett Michael’s voice
roars from the speakers below caught between heaven and hell,
where’s the girl I knew a year ago. The carnie throws up his
hand to me in a wave, winks, and jerks a lever that makes my seat rise.
For June in March
Virginia June Dukes Durall
It’s March and it’s raining
after a long winter
that will be your last.
This rain will bring
crocuses chased by tulips
and lilies. You pushed
fingers into soil
turning your yard
into a fantasy
garden we explored
as kids. The fish pond
is thawing, the porch swing at rest
and it’s March and it’s raining
on your greenhouse
rooftop sliding down glass
windows where empty pots
line shelves, your pink
flip-flops waiting by the steps.