At first, observe them from a safe distance.
Note the politics of their motion,
the swarm around the trunk. It’s in the approach—
no different than jumping rope,
the way girls circled their arms into a frenzy
when they realized a boy wanted to play.
I’d count quietly in my head, listening
for the sharp spaces within their rhythm,
the open air to step through the corded flurry
that could take my head off,
the beat of the skip to know I was safe.
I’d whisper with my privy lips the secret chants
of the rope turners, as they’d work with me
once I’d made it within their whirling.
But a roundabout is a fury of cars,
not quite jumping rope. Or,
think of them as stars shedding their planets,
an adherence to natural laws that says,
drop them unannounced in the middle of cities,
and we’ll know what to do: grit our teeth,
accelerate into the blender of them.
About the Author
Fred Dale is a husband to his wife, Valerie and a father to his occasionally good dog, Earl. He received his master’s in English from the University of North Florida, where he serves as a Senior Instructor in the Department of English. He is also pursuing an MFA at the University of Tampa, but mostly, he just grades papers. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sugar House Review, The Summerset Review, Chiron Review, Crack the Spine, Clackamas Literary Review, and others. His audio chapbook The Sleep of Blue Moon Flowers was released through Eat in 2016.