Laura Jensen
The Right To Be Educated:
photo given to Point Defiance Park 100th Anniversary Collection

 

A computer on the table, cousins,
a black and white photograph.
No - that's not a dress she remembers  -
 
                  *

When you ride the merry-go-round
all of it moves, all that you hear
is the music.  The branches swing in the sun.
 
The photo is so thick words are thick
everywhere on it.  Information
we know.  The horses look alike - her sister
 
stands below my sister in her bonnet
on the saddle.  Horses across, a leg and shorts.
Horses again, a man, a child -
 
And horses behind - where my cousin,
who wears the dress, stands - up on brackets!
between horses and holds both poles.

                   *

Some trees are inside the fence.  Some
leaves are on the ground.  Some leaves
are on the wooden floor of the merry-go-round.
 
Far in the distance, like music
comes the word poplar.  And outside the picture
Four other horses that all look alike
 
must circle around.  A dictionary page
with the word poplar on it, words thick
all around it, ahead of it, behind it -
 
grandfather's Swedish-English
narrow pocket version, 1880's
Poplar.  poplar.  Poppel.  Poppel.  Poppel.

                    *

Their aunt did not gain much weight that time
chasing the baby around.  It is 1948.
The children on the merry-go-round
 
are too young, but their aunt is having children.
My cousin is just ten.  Does my mother
lift the camera for four racks of horses?
 
In four months I would be born.
There are paintings in the center - trees,
islands, mountains.  Ahead of her, her sister.
 
My sister, the bonnet.  In between
are the benches
where a mother and baby may ride.

                      *

When you ride the merry-go-round
all of it moves, all that you hear
is the music.  Like classes at buildings
 
on campus - we go all around
in a circle, we go through the seasons
towards educations in the sixties.
 
Towards Roethke's student roster papers.
At the Western Washington Fair in 2004
One horse is on display at Hobby Hall.
 
The photo is thick with remembrance - sunlight
on poems, sunlight though windows
names in a book in special collections.
 
                      *

So many things that would happen.
And also the merry-go-round - that this
is a good one of it - there is the floor of it -
 
the canopy and the paintings of it -
the poles, the poplars, the horses of it -
all that you hear is the music.