The end of childhood by Ellen Stone

The end of childhood

Your parent’s tightened
lips, their narrow love—
how it tipped & tilted
like the summer Ferris wheel
all smoke and burnt candy.
You, leaning over the edge
to see it all – old ball field,
swirling night bats, dogs
& beer faced fathers. Where
is your mother? Gone, again?
That question slow burning,
but here the lights
are twinkly, everyone
is gathering, rippled
& holding something
spooled loosely –
giant blue bears, a pinwheel,
caramel apples on sticks, silvery
balloons hovering on the midway.
Empty in this moistness, you
circling around, swooping
& knotted, your stomach,
your sinking heart.


Ellen Stone advises a poetry club at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She is a co-host for the monthly poetry series, Skazat! and an editor at Public School Poetry which debuts in the fall of 2023. Ellen’s poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Third Coast, Cold Mountain Review, The Museum of Americana, and River Heron Review. She is the author of The Solid Living World, Michigan Cooperative Press, 2013, and What Is in the Blood, Mayapple Press, 2020.

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