Bal­loon An­i­mal

New England Review - - Table of Contents -

At sun­set, bal­loon man walks bal­loon dog through the sub­di­vi­sion of bal­loon homes. Bal­loon clouds turn rosy, as at the end of its bal­loon leash, bal­loon dog does its bal­loon busi­ness on the bal­loon lawn. All seems as it has been and will ever be, but in the fad­ing light, some­thing glints by the bal­loon curb: a tack, its point a ledge bal­loon man can't help peer­ing over. He's never seen some­thing so . . . well, he has no word for it, so he makes one: sharp. He bal­ances that word on his bal­loon tongue as he lifts the thing, car­ries it home, bal­loon dog trot­ting along be­hind.

In the dark­ness of his bal­loon house, star­ing at that point, he feels the thin­ness of his skin, how the taut air in­side him longs to get out. He brings it close, al­most presses it to his bal­loon chest, but just then bal­loon dog whim­pers, rubs its ten­der, knot­ted nose against his hand.

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