“Too Old”

by Patricia Haggard (2009)

Fifteen is too old to ride a merry-go-round,
too old for this twirling
coffee-painted pony
to take me back to last June,

to the machine that spins
dizzying circles, as I stand
at the head of my friend’s hospital bed,
holding her swollen, peeling hand.

The whoosh of the machine
echoes around the Lysol-clean room,
spinning, like my mom’s washing machine
as it wrings, not water, but oxygen
into her blood.

I bend to whisper all the newest
gossip, as if she will
sit up and follow me
down the hall and back into
our ninth grade classroom,

where we text under our desks
and pose for pics with clicks
that are sent to cyberspace.
Where I wish memories
would go instead of here

with the coffee-brown pony
who, like me, can’t break free
from its endless
circles taking me back to last June.

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