Dec 8
 
 

Balloons


1

Imagine the person who first considered it—
blowing air into rubber and calling it a toy.
Did tires and basketballs precede these
ethereal bimbos?  I prefer to think of the balloon
as a constant, something that came before,
its cool skin stretching like sap teased from the tree.


2

Like their brothers, the six-pack soda holders,
they advertise their menace discretely.  Something
about the ozone, or maybe it was birds, smothered
and heartbroken trying to kiss their slippery tongues.
Or was it kites, trapped in tree branches, ogling
the aerodynamics of the lighter, freer balloon?
There’s a reason they only show the child’s hand
loosening the corset string and smiling, and not
the sadness that comes after.


3

up, up, and I wrote you a message in tiny ink
around the perimeter.  I meant to gather enough
to lift myself, my note, to sail like a merry band
of Technicolor grapes to you.  It said all the things
I meant to say, precisely.  When I blew it up the
words were glorious, gaping mouths.  I taped
a needle to its neck and let it go.