Friday, April 4, 2014

Poem: When We Were Engaged

The Cyclone coaster at Coney Island

When We Were Engaged

We go to Coney Island. You talk me into riding
the rollercoaster. I'm afraid of going fast,
of heights, but you're so handsome and middle class.
I want to impress you, so I let you help me
into the rollercoaster seat, snap the bar into position.
I pretend to be fine until we start down in a great rush
and I grab your arm and shut my eyes and scream so long
I could have been an opera singer holding her highest note.
By the time the coaster stops and you hold my hand
to help me off, I'm giggling in that nervous way
that tells everyone you're glad you're alive and that
five minutes ago you weren't. so sure you'd survive.
I can't look at you, know you know
just how afraid I was. You don't ask
if I want another ride. Instead you suggest
the merry-go-round, and I'm grateful to circle
the ground, the placid, lovely horses going up and down,
and I can pretend to myself that you didn't know
how afraid I was, how much I hated
that last, huge plunge.

© 2014 Maria Mazziotti Gillan from The Silence in an Empty House

Maria's Official Site is at and her books are available at
Her latest publication is the poetry collection,  Ancestors' Song

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