Home > Poetry > The Cyclone
Published: Sat Jul 1 2006
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
The Cyclone

I don’t understand you the way I don’t understand
roller coasters, why people lock themselves
into rickety rides            to be reminded—repeatedly—
they are going to die      little deaths—

The personality book asked me what
I felt when I imagined riding a rollercoaster. Dread, I thought.
The next page said the rollercoaster represents sex.

I felt                    the dip in my stomach
_                                             _I knew before I knew
roller coasters and wanted to tell the book about my roaring
_                _twenties,             how I went bravely over the clattering tracks, locked in,
_       _ white knuckled             screaming                         rounding the same corners
to feel  I was alive                                                 and sex mine to ride

how much of our bodies are water     the nerves,
_                                                                                      _a net of Christmas lights thrown over us

On Coney Island, the screams of the Cyclone riders
whip around like streamers—I want to point them out to you, ask if you recognize them or
_       _ if there is a girl up there
_                               _in a striped shirt, her head back, eyes closed,
_                                                                                                                  _ laughing her head off—

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