I trusted nothing—not you, not the metal bar clamped over the hinge of our waists, not even
the employee’s tug-check to ensure we’d live. Once the door closed, you said Let’s rock
this thing, hefted your weight to tilt our whistle- shaped Zipper car in October’s chill. You pitched
us backwards and we caught the sky mining diamonds in its soil. The first orbit was a warm-up,
the sky and park and ground spliced together like a roll of film. On the second lap, you yelled
And this is where physics kicks in over my screams. As we flipped, the carnival’s secrets revealed
themselves in snippets; the employee’s anxious grip on the red stop button, the couple
in the car ahead of us fighting centrifugal force to align their mouths, the father-daughter pair
behind us mopping tears from the corners of their eyes. How at the top, the carnival’s lights
spread out around us like a spill before whirring out of view. How you never took the hand
I offered. As the ride slowed, you fished under your sweatshirt for your heartbeat, your lips
wind-blasted and splitting, and I hated the ride for leaving you breathless. The employee
unlatched our door and lap-bar, said Thank you, and come again as we re-joined the carnival’s
orchestra, the cocktail of screams mixing throughout the park. For the rest of the night--
on the Gravitron, the Drop Tower, the Tilt- -A-Whirl—gravity pulled us further apart.
Taylor Byas is a 24-year-old Chicago native currently living in Cincinnati, Ohio. She received both a Bachelor's Degree with Honors in English and a Masters in English, Creative Writing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is now a second year PhD student and Yates scholar at the University of Cincinnati. Her work appears or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Borderlands Texas Poetry Review, Jellyfish Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Mineral Lit Mag, Another Chicago Magazine, and others.