The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Thursday and County Fair


Goodnight Moon
By James Arthur

I used to be as unsentimental as anyone could be.
Now I'm almost absurd, a clown, carrying you on my shoulders
around and around Palmer Square, through the cold night wind,
as stores lock up, and begin closing down. Goodnight,

fair trade coffee. Goodnight, Prada shoes. Goodnight soon,
my little son. You're a toothy, two-foot-something sumo--a giddy,
violent elf--jabbing your finger at the moon, which you've
begun noticing in the last week or two. Moom, moom--for you,

the word ends with a mumming, as it begins. For me, beginnings
and endings are getting hard to tell apart. There was
another child your mom and I conceived, who'd now be reading
and teaching you to read--who we threw away when he or she

was smaller than a watermelon seed. The chairs, the domestic bears,
the clocks, the socks, the house--once again a strange cow
springs from the green ground, beginning the enormous leap
that will carry her above the moon.

--------

"Parenthood seems to have opened new emotional currents in me, which are working their way into my writing," Arthur told Poets.org. "This poem of course takes its title from Margaret Wise Brown's beautiful book for children, Goodnight Moon, published in 1947."

We had a lovely, busy Wednesday. Adam had a late morning dentist appointment, after which we picked up two of his friends and we all went to the county fair. The kids went off to ride things that tossed, flipped, and flung them all over the place, and after taking a few photos, Paul and I went to watch the pig races, which were a giggle as usual, and the Extreme Illusions magic show, which for a carnival show was pretty good. This year there were also a pair of rescued grizzly bears, raised by humans and non-releasable, who were adorable, and we went to see the baby animal barn, including an alpaca mom and cria, some baby goats, and a cow with a calf that had been born less than an hour before.

We also saw the various sheep, goats, pigs, horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and donkeys, plus wildlife at the Chesapeake Bay information tents, as well as crafts, farm equipment, and food (I bought a local cheese and grape tray, which may sound moderately healthy for fair food except that I ate it with bubble tea and later we shared funnel cake). When eventually the kids decided they had had enough -- we saw them in the poultry barn, so we know they did things besides ride -- we came home, sent them to a friend's party, and watched the premiere of Legends, a show on which I am seriously hoping Sean Bean will survive because he's the lead though that didn't help him on another recent big hit, then Extant, which is probably going to get canceled right when I start being interested!


Cows make everyone else in pictures look thinner.


Adam and a friend on the Fireball...


...and grinning because they survived it.


Paul enjoying super-healthy fair food.


Adam and friends on the Midway...


...and by the aforementioned super-healthy fair food.


Me in the bunny barn...


...and Adam in the poultry barn.
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