Salt & Pepper Shaker.
“You’re not gonna flip us,” she says, “because I’m old.”
And him, with his big Jersey tattooed arms –
the colored portrait of his ex-girlfriend Chelsea with her feathered hair –
they latched onto the cage of our ride at Saint Gregory’s Carnival
on this particularly warm summer night in the mid-80’s.
And he let loose.
He spun us like I always wanted to spin the wheel on “The Price is Right.”
And her pocketbook flew up to the top of the cage,
And saliva flew out of my lip from the lower right hand corner,
And we screamed like two newborn babies.
My jeans and red tank top – forming a purple smear,
Her black pants and white blouse, her gold cross once tucked in,
She was a gray splotch.
And Jersey was the palate onto which we threw ourselves,
Onto which our colors ran and ran and ran.
And wasn’t that what we’d both secretly wanted?
Wasn’t that the secret we held as close to our hearts
As I did the black and white spotted snake stuffed animal with the pink underbelly –
The one that Katie won for me after ski-ball?
We laughed and screamed
Like the happiest of hyenas
As our cage
Flipped and flipped and flipped.
Dizzied and wiping tears from the edge of our eyes,
We stumbled off the ride and melted into the crowd
Of people we’d been higher than – above then – better than,
For just a few moments,
No mom punishing me for telling my sister to “shut up”
No husband numbing her out with the television
Purple and gray on a whirling ride,
We flew up and away,
The giant rock n rolled, tattooed arm
Brought us higher,
Was an angel who flipped us into freedom on a hot August night.