The Caterpillar, a poem from Field Days

The Caterpillar

 

At the Addison County Field Days,

our local county fair,

there’s a new act called

 

The President. A professor,

off for the summer,

does a card trick

 

he doesn’t have a good

explanation for.

How it works.

 

Producing a card that seems

to have been shot out

of a cannon. Swirled

 

in a tube of cotton candy.

Without a number, a face

or one of the four suits.

 

To let you know that’s the one

you picked, without touching it.

It’s blank. An end-of-summer

 

memory. A whirl-a-gig of sorts.

The Caterpillar. You can sit in

with a friend, who becomes

 

your girlfriend, when the ride’s

roof comes over you.

Where you can hold hands,

 

kiss. For a few minutes.

Until the world is the world

again. Outside. And you’ve spent

 

all your money for another

year. And now, as you are,

you’re still amazed, trying

 

to guess how that card

rose from his hand.

Where the girl went.

 

By the end of the night.

How many arms you would need

to carry what you’ve won.

 

       — Gary Margolis, Cornwall

 

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