Balloon Animals


We are simple creatures—part lung, part bladder—
twisted into shape, with buoyant hearts.
Dog, my blue lover, calls me his little pink monkey.

In the beginning, he is frisky with static electricity,
as am I, and we are much adored, but as the week
wears on, we begin to shrivel, losing tautness,

our skin wrinkling like the surface of stale pudding.
Soon, we no longer float, but drift along the floor,
barely lifting our noses in the breeze.

Our novelty with the children diminishes. Sally,
the monstrous giant, decides to put us out of our misery,
stomping on our rubber bodies with all of her might.

That three-year-old makes it impossible to breathe.
Thus, as we were called into life, so we go to our deaths—
what begins with a huff ends with a bang.

— Robert Borski

Robert Borski did not begin to write poetry until he was well into his 50’s, but in the decade since, his work has garnered nearly two-dozen award nominations (14 Rhysling, 8 Dwarf Star). While Blood Wallah, an earlier collection of his poems, is still available from Dark Regions Press, more recent work has been appearing semi-regularly in Asimov’s, Dreams & Nightmares, and Star*Line. A self-described late-blooming child prodigy, Robert continues to live in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, where he works at a local university.
 
Editor’s Note: Robert says this of (an earlier version) of this poem, “among non-winners in last year’s SFPA Poetry Contest, the poem got a citation for excellence by judge Michael Kriesel.” The images that are configured together are from Pixabay (dog balloon) and Paul Smith (monkey balloon).

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