House of Horrors

If life is an amusement park,
then I, the wary visitor, purse
clutched to body, peer about
anxiously, rattled by crowds;

an overprotective parent,
herding my delighted flock,
reigning in wandering feet,
responsibility a stern cloud.

Childlike minds thrive under
blinding lights, the violence
of sounds, smells of cotton
candy sweetness: promises

of thrills, will lead me into
House of Horrors, where I,
lungs burning, heart dying
will plead for escape, run,

abandoning my charges
unable to separate fiction
from lived terror, reveal
my weakness, collapse

while the children, bent
on adventure will thrive
unphased by implications
of real life carnival rides.