Get sugar drunk as you inhale the princess pink, the crayon butterfly blue, the unicorn mane lilac. The church volunteer swirls the white paper cone around and around the brim of the silver pan into the cobwebs of floss and hands the oversized puff to you, smiling at your widened eyes. It’s bigger than your head and your dentist’s nightmare. Your mother will take a bite-- just one-- the rest belongs all to you.
Tear off a piece, stuff it in your salivating mouth. It melts, then goes hard on your tongue, then vanishes.
It is clutching a sandcastle, biting into a fluffy cloud. It is that part of your childhood where snorting, neighing carousel horses are alive, with names and individual personalities, where Tilt-a-Whirls spin cherry red and blurry on a round blue platform, where you are at the mercy of the Scrambler, sliding into your older brother at the end of the dingy silver car with a squeal, where you ride a little yellow fire engine with a ringing bell or a little green car with a honking horn, waving at your mother each time you pass her by, and she waves back every time, before you’re too old for those baby rides, before you have to go meet your friends, before you follow some boy around, all moon-faced and dorky, before you get roped into volunteering in some hot booth, before you go away for college, before you are old enough for the beer garden, before there’s really no reason to go back. It goes so fast, the cotton candy, that is. The paper cone wilting in the palm of your sweaty hand, tiny fingers sticky and your tongue painted rainbow.
Karen Steiger (she/her) lives in Schaumburg, Illinois. She frequently posts on her blog, The Midlife Crisis Poet (themidlifecrisispoet.com), and her work has been published in The Wells Street Journal, Arsenika, The Pangolin Review, and Black Bough Poetry. Her poetry will soon appear in Kaleidotrope, Mineral Lit Mag, Rejection Letters, and Ang(st).