Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hot Air

Thanks to Balloon Boy, hot air balloons have been all the rage in the news lately -- and coincidentally, my latest poetry zine. "What Goes Up," features a poem about hot air balloons! When I was a kid, I was enamored with the hot air balloons that used to dot the Arizona sunrise, and one of them once landed in a field across from my grandparents' house. Here's a poem I wrote to capture that moment.

Hot Air

At first, they freckled the Technicolor dawn
like a connect-the-dot puzzle,
disjointed parts of a bigger picture,
poking holes in morning’s defense against
the fugitive night,
dozens of little eyes looking down at us
dozens of little eyes peering up at them.

Before the other houses came,
one of them descended across the street,
an angel holding aloft his sword of fire.
His puffed chest deflated,
his dragon’s roar now a whisper as
my father ran ahead to see him,
unafraid of the falling sky.

We had just moved to the desert
like a blank canvas for civilization
and from behind the window I watched them
celebrate our Manifest Destiny
with messages in bubbly bottles;
I read their lips as they kissed the ground
from heads held high in the clouds.

Soon, the herald returned to the heavens,
and the other houses came.
Not long after that, my father left, too,
but the dots still stained the pastel sunrise
with an inaudible code I grew to live by:
stand far enough away, and all of us
are just tiny specks on the horizon.

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