Imagination of the Deflated Balloon

by Henry Shifrin
Wild Poetry Forum
Honorable Mention, October 2008
Judged by Hélène Cardona and John Fitzgerald


The balloon lies marooned beside a stain
of a foot on an empty section of rug.

Smells of burned rubber where its tip
kissed a match. It had been so lonely
and the breeze, so gentle. The wind’s

hand lifted gracefully toward the flame,
warm but too warm. The balloon leaves
the moment to dream: it fills with air,

rises into the clouds. Grounded fog
depresses all it covers, but moving
through clouds has a holy chill.

The balloon populates the sky
with round bodies, remembers
the static lightning two bodies

can rub into being — the shock
that erases the space between them.
Realizes movement isn’t as necessary

as thought, and so it inflates a friend
it knew when they clung to the same

lamp post, over the happy-birthday
sign and compared the size
of their shadows.

This balloon always darkened
the ground more than others.

At least it dreamed it that way.



  • December 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      Tires
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Babilu

      Second Place

      Scouring Pots While the World Ends
      by Elizabeth Koopman
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Poetry in the Cultural Revolution
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

  • November 2018 Winners

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      Radium Girls
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      Second Place

      The Unreliable Narrator
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      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Birds 2
      by JJ Williamson
      Babilu

      Honorable Mention

      Too Late
      by Billy Howell-Sinnard
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