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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