The Carnival – A Wagon Full of Empty

A Wagon Full of Empty


a wagon
creaks down the lane
towards a house
on Maple

the horses toil
in sweat and froth
as children gather around

“Tin!” grandma grabs at her apron
charging into the parlor
calling up the stairs

“It’s here!” she calls
“Why aren’t you coming down?” gasping
“Lord have mercy!”

Tin Horn rushes out of the bathroom
“All right Grandma” he rubs at his face with a towel
“I’m coming!”

“The wagon’s here!” cries baby Horn
his sister Filo (short for Philomena)
hustles him away from the door
“The wagon! The wagon’s come”

Tin Horn passes his two siblings
puts on a shirt and calls out “Over here!”
he approaches the wagon with

“Are you Tin Horn?”
the d-driver speaks under his breath
with a stammer

Tin Horn jumps on the running board
of the panel van that is somewhat like a milk wagon
(only empty) and swings himself into the front seat
“Can we stop?”

“For what?” the driver
sh-shouts “We ain’t got all day!”
“The neighbors want to see the wagon!”

“Ah! Ya seen it once
ya’ve seen ’em all!” he spits
as he whips the lead horse with a snap

the wagon turns onto Main Street
“We’ve got Wally to pick up and Orly
and that friend o’ yourn
Chew? He’s comin’ too ain’t he?”

“So what’s the hurry?” Tin Horn thinks out loud
“It’s not even nightfall
just hot”

the wagon lumbers
along magnolia covered streets
and the rhododendron sculpted lawns
of forgotten Victorian mansions

on the edge of town at an old farmhouse
the commotion starts all over again

“My you’d think
no one’s ever seen
an empty wagon!” gr-griped the driver

pulling the horses to a stop
he calls to the next rider
“Get on quick!”

no sooner has Orly
sprawled into the back
than the wagon drives on
his fan club left waving in the dust

at the next stop
Waldorf’s people rush towards the wagon
fifteen strong and counting

“No time to stop!” the d-driver yells
“Get on now!” the wagon yanks forward
leaving Wally in a heap
next to Orly

down the road
in the dusky sunlight
Chew Lin Fat’s is the last stop

it is a huge hotel-restaurant-in-one called the “Forbidden City”
only there are no guests living in the hotel
just the workers who man the kitchen

but don’t worry;
despite the name
the only thing served is Cantonese cuisine

Chew Lin is standing outside as the wagon pulls up
and is on and aboard without fanfare
the driver mumbles and grumbles
for nothing else to say

a yellow moon rises
in the dark velvet sky
vapors float around the wagon’s lamp
in dreamlike

(To be continued…)


13 responses

  1. Thank you for a very deep poem. The driver wonders, ‘what is the hurry’ and I wonder with him.
    You beautifully show this point throughout.
    Ending with the yellow moon and the wagon’s light.

    Liked by 1 person

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