360 days until the Shiprock Fair
by t. zoEy benally

this year's Shiprock fair adventures are finally complete
people from here--Shiprock, people from other places
--Chinle, Window Rock, Crownpoint, Round Rock,
Gallup, Colorado, and other place names i didn't read
have littered US491 with smashed aluminum cans,
diapers uncurled along sidewalks for pedestrian viewing,
crumpled religious propaganda, smashed styrofoam vats
discarded corn wrap, aka, husks, discarded clues leading to
villainous burrito vendors peddling out-of-temperature goods

at 7AM the carnies and fair board still clenched our town
just below the waist, with two hands, having squeezed
and shaken, as many coins from our pockets, in exchange
for dirt and grey water mud, heel slides, footprint smears
i just hope no one fell into carnie bath-water, money grime
washed from hands shiny, nails caked with greasy dirt
they still held on, unwilling to let go, trying to keep the sun
from rising, they left flood lights blaring, pointed at
the City Market parking lot exit, interrogating drivers

rides were folded into semi-trailer shapes, light bulbed curves,
familiar arcs, betraying the amusement ride identities
copper grounding rods pulled out with grey-yellow dust puffs
brake lights, blinker lines strung to trucks, skinny men
accustomed to a quarter-inch filth layer crawl behind wheels
focus eyes on the gate, then highway, i didn't watch to see
if they turned left or right, didn't care really, i was just happy
to see the so called City of Fun leave, our town liberated
from a noxious parasite--sucking assets--for another 360 days

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