Sunday, January 25, 2009


Watch a balloon – at first
racing from the child's hand, rising,
exultant, but then –
it will seem to slow, as if
regretting this rash decision, its jailbreak.
You know this is just a trick your eyes play,
that beyond the landmarks
of treetops and water towers
one balloon can take its time
getting lost in the everywhere of sky,
becoming smaller by the tiniest increments;
first losing its string, then the bright spot
precisely where it faces the sun,
then its color, and then itself

That's what the bad days are like,
not the ready tropes – the fish
drowning in sunlight on the pier,
gills heaving, bleeding. I just pity
every balloon I ever grasped for twice
and lost, that vanished
while all the eyes of the carnival watched it go,
those days when it seems
the merest breeze is enough
to carry my own breath
away from my body

Mark Aiello