Garish colors out of place
for memories stuck in long-lost nostalgia.
Styrofoam displays of food
too hideous to imagine yet… there is a line
for whatever they’re deep-frying.
Men’s cowboy boots clacking
on the blacktop as they lead their animals
to the arena for a show.
Women with too-tight pants riddled
with holes placed just so. And eyebrows
too perfect in a way that belies
the rest of their grooming.
Kids playing with rocks by the midway
while carnies bark their taunts and games
with toothless grins and voice box hollers.
Strollers and jazzies roll through crowds
with an overall steady pace of cattle
on a long drive. The freak show
has been removed and instead, there
is a flea market building full of trinkets
and garbage and decade-old trends.
There are quilt makers and school projects.
Wine-makers and apiary wares.
Alpacas, country singers, tractors,
goldfish, leather punching, wood burning.
Benches tilted from the last flood.
Bathrooms from the last world war.
Incense, brisket smoking, candy flossing,
diesel, manure, cider, kettle corn.
A gyro stand I remember from high school.
The rolling diner where a group of men
have been meeting for over 50 years.
Music and intercoms with 50,000 people
talking at once. Judges with ribbons,
a quiet garden somewhere off to the side.
The largest fair in the state. A week of
caloric debauchery and sensory overload.