In August they appear,
shimmering in the highway haze.
Metal caravans refracting the sun.
They set up in plain view.
In parking lots or
the rented dirt of fair grounds.
By nightfall, they’re up.
Red lights running.
The kind of cheap attraction
built to go up as quickly as it comes down.
The crowds wander in
looking for a late night thrill.
They wait in long lines
for the chance to take their turn,
to lose their breath in that slow grind
up-up-up to the top.
They pay a heavy price
for that moment of weightlessness,
lose their place on earth
for a second of suspension,
before plunging back down to the ground.
In the morning there is nothing left but trash. Empty containers. Paper wrappers—used then discarded.
Things that once held a purpose
thrown away, for somebody else
to eventually have to pick back up.