Carnival Pitches

The guy in the cage
with the painted face and overalls
taunts us to try to knock him down,
throw a ball at the circle target,
a hit would drop his seat and
plunge him into the water tank,
which may or may not quiet him.

The guessing man calls out to test his guesses:
your weight, your age, or birthday month.
I’m guessing the most popular choice
is birthday month, since you’d be sharing
your answer on a microphone,
with lots of people walking by.
If he’s wrong, you get your pick of a prize.

Prizes are all around:
colorful stuffed animals
hanging from booths where
game vendors also call out:
try to climb Jacob’s Ladder, shoot
out the red star, pop a balloon, swish
a basketball. “It only costs a dollar,”
they say, and “just take a gander
at these wonderful prizes.”

I play some games, but I don’t
knock down all the stacked cans,
and the rings don’t land on the pegs.
I’m disappointed by not winning
at least one of the stuffed animals,
with their friendly smiling smiles.
But then I ride the Ferris wheel
and the turning swings ride and
the tall slide and much more, and
smiling smiles are on my face.

Sure, it would’ve been neat to win
a stuffed buddy, but when I return home
and hug my stuffed buddies,
the disappointment is gone
and the day is complete.

Copyright © 2020 Dave Williams. Included in my book, The Dancing Fish.

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