© 2018 THE LONG ISLAND LITERARY JOURNAL

Two Poems by Sarah Brown Weitzman

 

A Carnival Comes to Port Washington

Reality studied by the reel, despite two features once a week

since I was nine, had not prepared me by my fifteenth spring

for that week-end carnival poled up on Farmer MonFort’s

extra ground, the first in my peninsula town where,

except for library afternoons and films, I lived a village death.

 

But Saturday night among the tents and crowds and stands

and strings of electric lights, it was dark enough for mystery

and fortunes in crystal, Tarot cards and tea cup leaves

and one slim chance man, who made me think of cities,

long satin gowns like Gilda’s, gangster mobs and

the sophistication of Lon McCallister in cowboy boots.

 

He offered me small silver risks for a golden opportunity

of carrying away a soft memory of all this. My age

slyly misguessed by him to be eighteen cost me

another quarter to win that compliment.

The night was a churn of rides and soft ice cream,

the carousel, cotton candy, jellied apples and The Whip.

 

A fever all day Sunday so my mother wouldn’t let me

out of bed even for the movies but Monday running

a devious route to school, I went back to find

brown cores and apple sticks, deep caravan ruts

and a rubble of broken lights – the lot that had planted

the lusts of Araby in me once again a fallow field.

 

 

 

Fall Journey

Climbing over the farmer’s fence

       unseen

 

I mount the hill path

           running all the way

       

        to reach the crest

                       and take sudden  

 

the whole shock

 

            of that autumn valley

                     in one surprise

                           of sight

 

the dogwood’s scarlet spread

          to maples              

              the singed ash

 

        elms exactly orange fire

 

among the paper birch

               one golden oak

                     now coin silver

 

apples ruby late

              upon the branch

                   

pines that do no turning

          as though this quarter meant to hold

                                                                                   

                 all hues of man’s seasons

                            from green

 

to full fruit and in between

 

in this last flamboyant protest

               against dying

 

but brought to me stealing

                                from homework                  

‚Äč

 

and after-school chores

             that bond   all may share   

    through beauty.

 

But then running through fields

               of weeds

               tingling my town legs

 

past flurries of bees

           and brown butterflies

 

all wooing and winged

               like myself I fling

      down the hill into apple air

 

and musk of old baywood

              some hand had sawed

not far

             from potatoes unearthed

to dry to where

 

   straining against the fence

                    there

              are the farmer’s four horses.

        

Not the first untouched crystal

                        of winter

 nor spring’s green sameness

          

nor even summer’s academic freedom

      ever pleased me

  so as that October valley journey

 

in memory now become not journey

                   but an end.

 

The farmer died.  

        His family moved to the city.

 

That ground soon grew nothing

                 humans eat.

 

     The horses were sold

                       for glue.

 

 

 

Sarah Brown Weitzman, a past National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Poetry and a Pushcart prize nominee, has been published in hundreds of journals and anthologies including ROSEBUD, THE NEW OHIO REVIEW, POET & CRITIC,  THE NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW, THE BELLINGHAM REVIEW, RATTLE, MID-AMERICAN REVIEW, THE MacGUFFIN, POET LORE, SPILLWAY,  MIRAMAR, etc.  A departure from poetry, her fourth book, HERMAN AND THE ICE WITCH, is a children’s novel published by Main Street Rag.