Not so Merry-Go-Round

My daughters think of other rings now,

a circle of friends, car tires, and the boys

who kiss their eyes somewhere in the trembling night,

as I still ride the carousel alone.

We have missed so many days, since we said,

the not so merry-go-round, our inside joke,

a manipulative mother who swore she would never

resemble her own mother…mirror, mirror,

yet all I ever wanted was to love them.

I thought we could saddle up and fade away,

Wurlitzer music diminishing behind us,

two tired faces fading on the backseat ride,

sunlight receding into dusk on their way home.

But each escape brought us back

to the same place, the same tedious routine

of phone calls, forgotten messages,

visitation, and these measured revolutions.

Perhaps there were too many carousels,

not enough long walks along straight shorelines,

to collect shells, hear stories of boys, the kisses,

the way their hearts were stomped upon,

wishing the castles I built for them

were made of something other than sand.

–Michael Alpiner

Michael is a writer and a teacher living in NYC. He has an MFA in creative writing, and his work has been included in online and print journals, as well as two anthologies. You can see samples of his work at and email him at

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