Keep Art Alive :: “Balloons” :: Art by Kelly Haigh

by me

Your eyes flick back at me
reflecting the question I threw
up in the air,
like an errant balloon,
leaking helium.

I wait for you to catch it,
throw it back,
or throw it away.

You have no answers for me,
I know.

We’ve no map of the world –
to spread,
to pin up,
to trace with a magic marker.

“Here’s where we’ll go, darlin’,
and then here, 
with your hair pinned up,
and my arm wrapped around you.
Slurpees and Mars Bars,
for the road.
Just you and me, kid.
Just you and me.”

Spread your lies.
Spread your paranoia.
As I spread my legs, sweetheart.

All for hers,
all for his,
all for us,
all for me.

You ask me now if I’m afraid to change,
without opening your mouth,
tongue-tied in knots,
robbed of yesterday’s beauty,
look at me.

I lie back and stare at the plastic stars
a ceiling universe
fifty to a package

Hey baby, it’s the fourth of July.”

I wish I could crawl right into that song,
sit on the steps,
with a cigarette,
wait for you to come back and say
I’m sorry,

Instead I avoid your gaze,
chip the paint right off the wall.

Try to think of ten-thousand ways to sign my name,
practice the curls,
and the loops,
with a heavier push of the pen,
the kind that leave indentations;
the kind that leave scars.

No, my love,
I don’t fear change.
I like the feel of it –
the way it clinks in my back pocket,
like foreign coins,
like a stranger’s smile,
who wears a stain on his soul
Like the ripped hole in the arm of my sweater,
mended anew.

Can I help you ma’am?”

Hello, my name is…
my name is…
my name is…

I long for the re-identity,
the feel of a new mask,
new paint on the walls,
the shocking smell of new.

I live for the second-chances,
first days,
ears that haven’t heard my same boring stories,
a million times,
plus a day.

Like you have,
my dear darling despair.

Yet I loathe the forgetting,
the names that will blur,
in my cluttered mind.

Like that back way to that taco place

What was it there you liked so much?

The ice machine clamoring.
how you tripped in the parking lot,
the scar it left behind.

I’ll miss the clearer memory.

And now your eyes,
are closing,
your voice a whisper,
a frozen denial sliding in between us.

Can you feel it?

Under the bed-sheets,
through our fingertips,
the kink in your hair,
my breath hot
on the back of your neck.

“I know we’ll never change.”

But change
we do
we did

as you disappeared
into forever.

Fourth of July :: X

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