Maybe snow by Sunday, wind strong
enough to spiral away a balloon held
loosely in a child’s hand… Not that one
sees many balloons in children’s hands

nowadays, unless they’re popping them
in games on their phones. The local
grocery store used to have a little area
beside the fake cacti and potpourri bundles

with a shell or sand dollar— where thin,
stretched membranes of helium-filled petroleum
byproduct in pastel shades bobbed against
the ceiling. In a true nor’easter or hurricane,

all the ships in this navy town pull up anchor
and head far out to sea. Half the population
rushes to the stores to panic buy milk, eggs;
beer, whisky, water. The other half boards up

their houses before racing against the clock
to leave town. Last time, we actually got
an evacuation order. I stood for about five
minutes in the middle of the room, unable to form

any coherent thought about what one could possibly
fit in a box or stow in the trunk of the car to take—
where? Not any amount of money in the world can stop
the inevitable plunge into endgame. Still, I stashed

my house keys in the bottom of my backpack, passport
and important papers ready in ziplock bags. All the bells
and chains, all these things we call possessions, piled
in closets and just waiting to get soaked or decimated.

Don’t get me wrong— I love any whiff of a good sale,
the price tag showing up under scrutiny to have lost
one or two digits. Between that and lounging in a bath
with a book to keep the encroachments away, I long

of course to take a trip somewhere preferably
without noisy train terminals, without headache-
inducing muzak, or bills and memos and bills. I want
to just throw these in the fire to forget. I don’t

want to know the future, really. Or who’s
going to call soon. I want to bite into a bright
red apple and then another, and not have to bear
the blame for a whole world going to ruin.


In response to Via Negativa: Snack.

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