Nobody knows why its there:
if it was left by a deity,
or a couple, or a father who didnt want
a black balloon at the wedding,
they didnt leave a calling card
when they tied it to the lamp-post
for the climbing boy to find.
Once released the balloon attacks
bobbing off his head and arms
as he clings to the ironwork.
The fall is caused by the distraction
rather than the force itself
and breaks a leg -
he mightve cracked his head too
on the way down.
A man selling hot rice
runs to the aid of the folded boy
and sees the balloon drifting skywards,
Loning over dusty hills
towards the grey tenement
it finds a dog to tease, bouncing
off the windowpane as it yaps in alarm.
This rouses a drunk man,
who bursts onto the balcony lurching outwards he grabs for it
misses, grabs for it, misses, grabs for...
The woman carrying bread
encounters her lifeless husband
and her wails are still audible
as the balloon sails across the main road.
Goosing cats and startling drivers and
tempting children into the road and
knocking over ornaments and coffee cups
and whipjerking away in the nick of time
whenever someone tries to clutch it.
The local kids
dont like this balloon either.
A cluster of them see it fleeting down an alley
so they chase it screeching
and skidding round cobbled corners
and harry it between stained apartments
in inflating swarms.
When its finally hounded into the field
and one of the kids gets away a good shot
it dies slowly,
slumps painfully to earth,
cracks, shrinks in the sun.
A booted foot finished the job.
Somewhere in the distance
a dog barked.
All over Paris balloons rip themselves out of fingers
waft out of doorways and windows
and funnel down the roads
to congregate where it lies extinguished.
But they've gathered to celebrate:
we can see them laughing in the zephyr.