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by cate lycurgus


I spent my best years on a merry-go-round:

            around it a blur; by it, the arm with a brass ring;

on it, sleek stallions lifting & lowering—no telling

           where I’d end up, but—knowing what comes around

goes. When I wanted off, I steeled myself

for the lion’s roar, tossed all I had

           toward his mouth, eased to complaining boards.

Which spooked the horses & though I’d chafed

            at frozen manes, mid-air gaits, though my heart might

learn to race to another music, what

skewers will hold you in place     

Cate Lycurgus’s poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry 2020, American Poetry Review, Tin House, Best New Poets 2019, and elsewhere. Cate lives south of San Francisco, California, where she interviews for 32 Poems and teaches writing. You can find her at

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