You could tell by his long thinning hair below his bowler hat
Strings pulled and floating behind him
Was an old man, holding within shaking hands,
All sizes of brightly colored balloons; embossed in abstract bold print
Announcing all of his life’s successes and failures.
Strolling along the streets, skipping past the alleys,
Looking up at his balloons,
He would speak to himself in a loud but timid pitch;
“Free! Life’s balloons!
Pick a color. Go ahead, pick a size above the strings,
Pick anyone you please.”
No one ever did. Bits and pieces in his pace as he slowly moved,
In constant pursuit with purpose, holding his balloons.
Carrying a large white plastic handbag
Strapped between sagging breasts and tucked behind aging wings,
Carrying bulging contents that peeked in-between striding elbows,
Was an old Angel with a dull Halo; suspended above short cropped bluing grey hair.
With systematic jerks of her head looking up and down the streets,
She would give directions to her wings like a bird of prey.
A determined hunter; for that old man she did seek.
Her search begins in the dampness of dawn.
Always walking on the opposite side of the street ready to cross if need be.
She never stops looking, never stops shaking her head.
Gripped with white knuckles in one hand
Unable to be released, were bits and pieces
That glittered on the copper needle she carried.
Day of enlightenment almost caught up with the old man.
But, it did not. He was ambushed yesterday,
In the blur of wings and a redemptive screech,
Every balloon he carried was popped.
The old man continues to walk in a crushed cap,
Carrying strings over his shoulder, begging
“Free! Sturdy strings! Free well tugged twine.
Have this one, please take this one,
I have had them now for much too long.”
i gaze at my reflection at bits and pieces, starfish,
crabs, and broken shells in a shallow
Written on Star Island,Portsmouth,NH on a writers retreat..rev.2020