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give me all your secrets and I’ll set them on fire photo

that was the year that all the carnivals came to town. sounds like a fake small town thing, but when you live in a small town, all the things that happen are fake small town things, except they’re real. I wanted secrets. I drank water, I ate cotton candy, I spilled a little bit of water each time I drank it. I wanted one more secret. we stuck to wall in the UFO ride. someone had some weed. I wanted to go to sleep. sometimes I do all the things I know will most annoy someone to make them prove they love me. the ferris wheel went up, the ferris wheel went down. well really it wheeled. I circled the games, the crickets, the moles. whack me, I begged, but no one could hear over the bark of the carnival. a balloon popped with the ping of a pin. someone hit a disk with a hammer and a bell rang. I wanted to be strong. I sat in a tea cup. I wanted to be sipped. a giant plush dog swallowed me in its fist sized plastic eyes. it clung to the limbs of a kid half its height. I wanted to win something. I didn’t know what. the carousel caroused in a never ending canter. the oreos were deep fried. tickets were trailing in the mud like leashes. I wanted to be held. we were raising money for the firemen. it started to rain and the mud thickened. I’d never broken a bone. I knew what the right thing to do was and then I did the opposite.

image: Aaron Burch