Few can see to the end of the tunnel of love the entry beckons heart-shaped
framing an empty void had it been labeled “Haunted House” half the fair-goers would politely decline citing the sudden need for candy floss the brave
would clamber into the small cars expecting to emerge from the other side
half out of their minds
anticipating that somewhere along the line a man in a mask taunting
a chain saw would roar into the moment or that severed arms and heads
would drop lifeless from the sky fingerless toothless
There would be screaming -
and plenty of it
How then, did she coax you into the tunnel?
You - with the logical mind, practical life?
Did she look at you with her goal-post eyes?
Calculate possibilities into tiny fractions,
Did the car rattle and shake as you clasped hands and entered as fearless
as the guests in the Haunted House? Did she kiss you with her mouth open
as the tunnel gaped, swallowing you quickly?
Cobweb hair, goose-bump flesh, a strange sensation filling your belly
your heart talking in beats assuring your mind
No sign of severed arms, heads, or men with chainsaws.
No indication that the ride was faulty.
No chance of a refund at the other end.
Just the creak and sway of the car,
teetering precariously on the edge
of something unseen.
The mind a blank a magic realism painting where the grass is too green
the sky too blue her red dress too perfectly creased see through in the sunlight
nobody mentioned the tunnel of love would be so narrow lonely dark the fifty
percent chance of emerging as two instead of one but you knew it would feel good
so good to get lost in there for even a little while.
When the ride finally came to a stop, you reeled out of the car as if emerging
from a fighter plane that turned upside-down with a G8 force the bile rising
in your throat but you swallow it back denying the need for help your legs
wobbly and unstable she was no longer holding your hand
The crowd stared as if you were a freak in the big tent and you tried to smile
put on your best front your mask dripping with the sweat of denial
She was no longer holding your hand