Life-Long Carnival Trouper
For Red 

Harder to enter
mornings; this one
for instance, could be

any one, all alike
except for tiny feeling
remains inside.

A feeling Red never
tried to explain. There
from when a kid, went

to first carnival,
now gives him
necessary stubborness

Clay sticks to boots
from dogged drizzle
as he makes way

to tilt-a-whirl to
weld cracked safety bar
on number two car.

Eight rides left, three
games of chance, one small
trailer for popcorn, soda.

Old, all of it, broken, paint
pale, gouged, light sockets
empty, shows first.

Will be gone
soon enough, forever
dead to the world.

Still time left
for him to say
to worker new in spring

and me to hear,
"Don't get married, Kid
—you know what a woman wants

—to get pregnant
—keep you on the road
—the edge gets close quick enough

without putting up with
her sloppy body and dumb mouth
—remember that."


Summer is now, will change
to something else
soon enough, indifferent to us.

Red, you listened to heart,
obeyed it all your life.
You might be last

American hero.

Maybe more of what
is actual will be said
in the silence you leave.

from In Tribute To Survivors Copyright © James Humphrey Trust


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