You were born on the carousel.
It was a cold fall night, just like this one,
And the park was dead-deserted.
Our lights were all turned off.
Your mother is the swan-bench.
We don't know who your father was.
You needn't look so ashamed --
Not on that count.
It would have been the same for any of us.
So many men ride us. It can't be helped.
The groundskeeper found you
And raised you in his hothouse.
He should have known better
Than to let you out this time of year.
Oh, you escaped, did you?
I expect you don't know better.
You say he named you Helen?
His mythology is not quite sound.
But no matter. It fits you.
Come sit under the awning. It keeps the wind off.
Something brought you back here.
But you couldn't have remembered, could you?
And this isn't a happy place,
Not even when there's music and voices,
All the looping sounds of life.
But I suppose all of us must have somewhere,
And this place is as good as any --
For one such as yourself.
When all the crowds are gone,
And the wind dies down for just a moment,
It's almost like a place that could be home.
Copyright © 2004 Jennifer de Guzman
Jennifer de Guzman is a literature student, comic book editor, and privateer from the San Francisco Bay Area. When she isn't sailing the high seas for glory and profit, she is usually reading, writing, or moping about on the floor. Her fiction has also been published in Strange Horizons.