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At the roller rink next to the Superfund site, 1983

"tar oozes out of the ground at the apartments next door"

Published onOct 11, 2023
At the roller rink next to the Superfund site, 1983

Photo by Pixabay:

The disco ball casts warning lights,
glowing planets crawling over the murk.

a safe distance from acetone, Aldrin, Alpha-BHC and Dieldrin

“Round and Round” by RATT plays
at Rambo’s Skateland as I roll solo among strangers

chemicals washed off eighteen wheelers for years,
forgotten until it reminds us

music murmuring in my prepubescent bones
on eight wheels in wobbling circles,

trying to stay out of everyone’s orbit,
hobgoblins with elbow sticking out, shoulder pads, hairspray-lacquered

tar oozes out of the ground at the apartments next door

inhabiting the periphery, cold planet far from the sun
not showing off tricks because I have none

The powers-that-be dumped fresh dirt and built apartments,
left families with bubbling muck

a balancing act just to keep from hitting glossy timber
until my legs tire and I escape orbit

like nothing ever happened,
like this was fresh territory scratched out of the pines

Round and round what comes around, goes around. I’ll tell you why.

I navigate the sudden deceleration
of rolling onto carpet, the muffled sounds of wheels

legal documents full of benzene
and detached drama

Geometric carpet designs dingy
sweaty from everyone’s journeys

apartment dwellers scraped away with tainted topsoil


Kimberly L. Wright's poetry has most recently appeared in The Comstock Review, The Black Fork Review, Panoply, Poydras Review and Eunoia Review. Her first collection of poetry, Not Pictured, was published by Finishing Line Press in March 2020. She graduated from the University of South Alabama in 1997 and has worked as a journalist for 25 years. She lives in Woodstock, Georgia.

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