At the Carousel: the Revolutionary Power of Love by Laura McCullough

At the Carousel: the Revolutionary Power of Love
Laura McCullough

When the tail of the horse in front of me fell off, I saw
it was made of real horse hair, embedded in a wooden dowel
inserted in the carved and painted beast. My left hand held
my child’s, riding next to me, and my right was extended
to hold the head of the horse beneath me, both of us ascending
and descending, but in opposition. Just down the road, there
is a spring near the gate house, and the old Russian man who
comes each day with his soft accent to fill empty Perrier bottles.

For me and my wife, he once told me;
For the minerals; good for digestion, he said.

When the ride stopped, I picked up the fallen tail and stuck
the dowel back in to the old timber horse, thumping it
with the heel of my hand, then brushing down the hair,
long, so long it brushed the wooden platform underneath
us now no longer turning, the slats buckled with salt air,
the blue paint curling to reveal the gray grain below.

Laura McCullough’s books include Jersey Mercy (poems, forthcoming spring 2015, Black Lawrence Press), Rigger Death & Hoist Another, Ripple & Snap, Panic, Speech Acts and What Men Want. She has edited two anthologies, A Sense of Regard: essays on poetry and race (Georgia University Press, 2015) and The Room and the World: Essays on Stephen Dunn (University of Syracuse Press, 2014). She teaches full time at Brookdale Community College in NJ and is on the faculty of the Sierra Nevada low-res MFA. She is the founding editor of Mead: the Magazine of Literature and Libations. Visit her at

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