A red balloon sailing
through patchwork skies
whisked my brother’s young feet
from the fairground. Day bled
to twilight before a cop found him
dead by the highway, still clutching
its mangled red husk.
That summer, our French au pair
led me down to the basement,
laughed when I told her
I’d never played baseball.
Later I took her out to the train yards,
taught her to aim my twenty-two,
turn white pigeon breasts crimson–
some things never seem so alive
as they do in that moment
before they aren’t.