Bob's Coney Island by Sherman Alexie
Let's begin with this: America.
I want it all back
now, acre by acre, tonight. I want
some Indian to finally learn
to dance the Ghost Dance right
so that all of the salmon and buffalo return
and the white men are sent back home
to wake up in their favorite European cities.
I am not cruel.
Still, I hesitate
when Bob walks us around his Coney Island:
the Cyclone still running
the skeleton of the Thunderbolt
the Freak Show just a wall of photographs
the Parachute Drop
which has not been used in 30 years
but still looks like we could
tie a few ropes to the top (Why the hell not?) and drop
quickly down, spinning, unravelling
watching Bob's Coney Island rise
from the ashes of the sad, old carnival
that has taken its place now, this carnival
that is so sad because, like Diane says
all carnivals are sad.
We drop to the ground, our knees buckle slightly
at impact. We turn to look at each other
with the kind of love and wonder
that only fear and the release of fear can create.
We climb to the top and parachute down
again and again, because there is an ocean
a few feet away, because Manhattan is just a moment
down the horizon, because there was a 13-year-old boy
who believed that Coney Island belonged to him
though we know that all we see
doesn't really belong to anyone
but I'll let Bob have a conditional lease
because I know finally
somebody will take care of this place
even if just in memory.
Business of Fancydancing: Stories and Poems