Between The Stand That Deep-Fries Twinkies and The One That Roasts Corn On The Cob

By Joshua Swainston

Billy shouts an Earthquake
Burger order over the rain-rattled
rooftops of concession stand trailers.

Midway diversions award a caricature plush animal
to eight-year-old Aiden for shooting
water into a clown mouth.

The Tilt-a-whirl’s rose, lemon, seaweed,
and blueberry tinted lights
revolve to classic rock that Jennifer keeps humming.

4-H’s livestock mud cakes
Aiden’s rubber boots,
while Jennifer pets baby chicks.

The farmers of the valley revel
in northwest autumn’s umami
death and sworn renewal.

To celebrate the fertile dale
turned pastoral suburbs,
Billy purchases three overpriced tickets
to the monster truck extravaganzas
at the box office
as his family squeals
to the excitement of pig races.

All the while,
Mt. Rainier,
Silhouetted against overcast sky,
stands sentinel to the festivities.

“To everything (turn turn turn)
there is a season (turn turn turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven.”

A promise,
one day,
to consume, in volcanic ash and lahar,
the Puyallup River basin
on the way to Commencement Bay.


Joshua Swainston has worked as a mechanic, merchant sailor, courier, loan shark, club promoter, Ryder truck rental agent, McDonald’s grill cook, taxi driver, valet, coffee roaster, wine distributor, psychologist assistant, UPS man, Disney Store stock boy, and played Santa Claus. His short stories and flash fiction are printed in Out of the GutterThe Frist LineRevolt Daily as well as others. His first novel, The Tacoma Pill Junkies, was released in February of 2013.

Find out more about Joshua at


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