It rises from dust, rakes in the populace,
feeds them fried Twinkies, fried trees if they could
put them on a stick and powder them in sugar.
Bodies bunch up: the perfumed, the balmy,
the whole way to watch the potter at his wheel,
the carver and his knife, the knee-high rope
around an old America. Somewhere amongst
the sound of shrill children holding stuffed
SpongeBobs, the banjo in arthritic hands infuses
the air with song. People eat their corn and clap,
make way to the cow barn, the high-swinging
swings, the plastic horses that travel in unrelenting
circles. The clogger stumps the bowed stage
with free-style shuffles, his flailing limbs
like broken lumber. The fiddler leans into
his shrugged shoulder. My body is too still, I think,
wishing there was a skirt I could put on, bells to tie
to my shoes. I watch the judges hold scores for jigs
that were done on porches with no reeling film,
no expecting eyes, but mountains and mountains
and more tunes than they had legs for.
C. L. White reads “North Carolina State Fair.”
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