When bone emerges, effortless, from the pool of soy sauce and vinegar, it’s ready.  Your mother covers white rice with dark meat--drumsticks, wing, shredded thigh.  She flosses her teeth with a bay leaf.  Flies circle the cast iron.  Summer caramelises on the lips of strangers. 

Labor Day threatens rain, and the amusement park goers know it. 

paper birch
paint chips from
carousel horses

Park security circles the extended family of skin. Your dad and a few retired G.I.’s chain-smoke Camel Wides and Kent Ultras to keep the insects at bay. Just out of earshot, cornfed boys in rented blue polos make ching-chong and dinggy-dinngy-dinngy-tik-tok-fu noises. Pull their eyes into narrow horizons. Their sweat and laughter attract wasps of all kinds. 

flowering dogwood
empty pizza boxes
bleach in the sun

August is a dying echo of a wooden roller coaster. In gloaming, the Phoenix rises out of a Central Pennsylvania wilderness. One by one, neon stars begins to expand and bring sky that much closer to the sleepy town of Elysburg. Tagalog tongued picnics clatter under a tin roof pavilion. There are a few stray mosquitoes among the fireflies.  Knoebels security reminds the handful of families that the park closes at 10 pm. It’s 7:30. 

sugar maple
the tilt-a-whirl operator
has a nosebleed

Take a white square of fabric and fold it thirteen times and you’ll make a crane. Fold it into a trapezoid and you have a keystone. Roll to a point, and you have a hood. Do nothing to a white sheet and you have a flag. 

white pines face
the lumberyard

Jim Warner's poetry has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, RHINO Poetry, New South, and is the author of two collections (PaperKite Press). His third collection actual miles will be released in late 2017 by Sundress Publications. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and is a faculty member of Arcadia University's MFA program.