Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Home from a party
the silver balloon
followed me.
From room to room,
it bumped the ceiling,
in my wake
morning to night.
By some freak
of draft or static
it waltzed as if charmed.
Why did it choose me,
not my husband
or sons, to chase?
When the helium weakened
it sank to face
level and bobbed,
nodding assent
to my every choice.
Still not content,
for days it stalked
Its ribbon hung down,
suggesting a torso,
pathetic and spare.
I’d turn and confront my
reflected stare.
As it grew wrinkled
it followed still
rubbing against me
at ankle height till,
annoyed, I tied it
to a chair’s back.
In a distant corner
it dangles, slack,
a slighted suitor
or castoff pet.
I should throw it out
but haven’t yet.