First Deaths

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.

Ryan Stone



13 thoughts on “First Deaths

      • You’re welcome πŸ™‚ Wow, you certainly lived a more interesting life than I did! Where are you publishing your NaNo collection? Thanks for asking about me. I’m surviving–overworked, overtired, writing like a fiend–the usual. πŸ™‚ Finding it hard to blog lately with the declining readership any my focus switching to the publishing world.


  1. Such a dark one Ryan. The line “mangled red husk” just makes me feel sick almost because you can really picture him lying on the highway road side dead, still clutching this balloon. It must have been to take him away or perhaps it’s not literal at all.

    And the older brother with his French Au Pair, seems like there is something between them there. He feels this thrill with her, teaching her how to shoot a gun. “Some things never feel so alive/ As they do in the moment / Before they aren’t.” It’s a strong ending I think it’s his feelings with the Au Pair making him feel alive as she kills these pigeons. The love is like a high, perhaps his little brother too was all laughter and smiles befornhe flew away. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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