Jordan Durham

Meeting My Past Selves at the County Fair

I buy everyone pink cotton candy and the tradition continues
as we grab and twirl and wait to disintegrate slowly through
our own hot and humid crowd. Our mouths soaking in
the strange taste. I still can’t tell them anything
at a relaxed pace, especially of slow burning necessities
of love. The selves I see on swirling hearts ride as red
splays out and out with every spin, as though each whiplash
of revolution could loop me back to another love
-struck life: flash there’s K and me, flash there’s T, flash M, flash
a bad decision made again. Neon bulbs flickering

names of the rides fast as our hearts when held
in boys’ hands: in and out in and out, you love me I love you
not: Tilt-a-Whirl, Gravitron, Tornado Terminator. Destruction
placed on these tongues from above. Calling ourselves
demo-derby dames in the back of pickup trucks and one wears the cowboy

boots with shorts, shorn, watching everything wreck and go
aflame. The two who sweat and run back to Midway from dusk and fields
of cars. Take the husks of our unhomed hearts as nothing
more than which fun-house mirror is you is me. One young and winning
goldfish set to die with pingpong balls bouncing without splash,
another blows a kiss to her group of friends. Bar-fly blitzed
and honky-tonk, they swing to country blues, deep fried mushroom-
twinkie-snickers, auto-tune filling to buzz. Our lightning
storm humid hair, hear a static on the horizon as we blur
our ways back through this electric air.


Jordan Durham's poems have appeared in Blackbird, Quarterly West, Harpur Palate and Indiana Review, among others. She has been a finalist in the Grist Pro-Forma Poetry Prize and the Arcadia Editors’ Poetry Prize. She holds an MFA in poetry and is a Senior Poetry Editor for Narrative Magazine. Jordan currently lives in Columbia, Missouri.