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Roller Coaster

Jay Ruzesky
From:   Painting The Yellow House Blue. Concord, Ontario: House of Anansi Press, 1994.


My father laughed and it was
the first and only time so far
I've heard him do it; a real
laugh deep from inside
climbing like an artillery shell
up his throat and pushing out of
his Edvard Munch mouth.
We were commuters aimed at heaven,
riding a steep, open train toward
the sun-god at the end
of the line, padded straps
reefing our shoulders against
plastic seats. This was
the last place I wanted to be,
locked in like an astronaut,
someone else driving,
lunch rising in my chest.
My eyes were open to
the whine of pulleys as we
ascended a slope snow wouldn't
hold to if snow fell through the
ridiculous summer air. There was
a moment as we reached
the first peak and crested
when I smiled too at weightlessness,
the feeling as you float
from a swell in a fast highway until
most of me dropped. I felt
my stomach's desire
to stay behind up there where it could see
halfway to Saskatchewan and
to bail out again at
the bottom as we were
caught like eggs by a
giant hand and sent up again
over a short rise only to
plunge face-first at the ground
continuing as we rolled
through a giant loop, swooped
with the energy of descent and
twisted through a series
of corkscrew turns, our
brains in startled mobius,
my father wide with giddy terror.
Somewhere along the way he
reached over and squeezed my hand
and our astounded spirits
or some other part of us
that it seemed we could do without
for a while raced behind
like afterimages as we rolled on
through the inverted morning,
clutching each other,
wearing death-masks of happiness.



Jay Ruzesky's works copyright © to the author.


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