Top Thrill Dragster

You have dangled bare legs,
gripped lap bars on steel and wooden giants
in three states.

But today,
on this thickly August afternoon, you are waiting
in line for the world’s newest, fastest coaster.

Four hours of faith through shutdowns and repairs,
maddened by that song, baby I’m ready to go-oh!
Then at dusk you slide into the very front car.

Press your hip to his, breathe deep
at the sound of the bell,
let the ride thrust you up, impossibly up the vertical U.

You don’t know this is the last ride –
in 42 seconds you’ll descend,
screaming life
into the platform,

his hand will grip yours
as you sea-leg away,
spitting bugs from your teeth,

-- that in months he’ll lose his mother,
that in years you’ll flee the East,
marry another.

Right now there is only you two, hot on the edge
of a painted capsule, off the seat like some space jockey
thundering around Saturn,

over a pale silent moonscape, its lake a deep plum,
whose shadow trees feel no sway as you race
toward love and death and then past.

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