Button, button, who’s got the button?
(It’s my grandmother’s voice, laughing
on the other side of eternity
reminding me of a game I never played.)
Red balloon, bright red balloon, from a French film.
(I remember it bobbing over cobblestone streets
–maybe they were black and white–
but the balloon was in color, and I felt so strongly
that it was a heart alone in the sky.)
Masks, masks on the wall, masks we never wear.
(Why would we wear an African mask? Or
a brightly painted porcelain mask? Or
even my Mardi Gras mask when Lent is over?
We have other masks we never take off.
How could we wear two at once?)
Slash, crash, burn, bash—it won’t last.
(It’s a goblin song. Don’t you recognize it?
They sang it to my cousin when she was
cutting herself. But they have stopped
their vile enchantment. Now she is expecting a baby,
and her husband is feeding her tender grapes.
A life of joy has begun.)
I strap myself into the imaginary cockpit,
as the fighter plane transforms into a hot air balloon basket,
and rise—yes, I rise! Looking down at that strange,
miraculous landscape: memories
like buttons in the distance.
Sunflower Songs (2012)