Daddy Would Know
by Alarie Tennille

We had the breeze.
August clung to the crowd below us,
while the black ocean-sky
spread out a magician’s cape,
sequined with lights from the fishing pier.
Abracadabra —  the secrets of the universe
about to be revealed!
And I liked to imagine
our car sailing off the Ferris wheel —
not crashing,
like each summer’s drunken sailor,
who cried, “Look at me!”
before toppling head-first
from the roller coaster —
but skimming star to star,
buoys placed to mark our way.
We would ascend as quietly
as my childish prayer
that Heaven would be
just like this.
It is, isn’t it?

SOURCE: First published in the author’s chapbook, Spiraling into Control.

PHOTO: Entrance to Ocean View Amusement Park, Norfolk, Virginia (early 1960s). After nearly 80 years in operation, the facility closed in 1978.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was a young child in steamy Virginia, we didn’t have central air conditioning. On summer Saturdays, we often headed to the Ocean View Fishing Pier and spent the night! It was a child’s paradise, for after a picnic, I got to play on the beach, go to the amusement park, fish till late, and sleep on the pier. My mother was afraid of heights (and probably wanted some quiet time alone), so I’d go ride the Ferris wheel with Daddy. Sadly, the Ocean View Amusement Park is gone. The fishing pier is still popular, but half a continent away from me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Alarie Tennille was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia, and graduated from the University of Virginia in the first class admitting women. She misses the ocean, but loves the writing community she’s found in Kansas City, Missouri. Alarie serves on the Emeritus Board of The Writers Place. Alarie’s poetry collection, Running Counterclockwise, was First Runner Up for the 2015 Thorpe Menn Award for Literary Excellence.  She’s also written a chapbook, Spiraling into Control, and her poems have appeared in numerous journals including Margie, Poetry East, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly Review, and Southern Women’s Review. Visit her at alariepoet.com.