Taxco, Something in the Sky

Early in the morning,
the sun still young,
the woman blows up balloons
on the steps of the church,

blowing three big breaths
then twisting them,
twisting them, twisting
them tight so that
their silver cellophane
bodies come taut,

and she ties them
on sticks, sticks them
with the rest and
does this again,

three breaths, three times
in, three times out,
building a blossoming
cheap tree of balloons
pulled together, all
tight, all taut
together on the stick
like cellophane silver fruit,
born of mechanical blooms
and breath in a bundle,
a bundle she'll carry, all the

balloons stuck, waiting
for a child to see them,
a child to want one,
and a parent to want
to see their child happy.

She'll walk, all day, through
tight plazas and steep streets, waiting,
longing to sell her lungfuls, waiting
for a child to buy her breath wrapped
in a silver balloon, the wrapped
gift of her lungs, the push
of her diaphragm, the flexing
of her fingers cherished

until a child lets go and her
breath blows away, stray
balloon blows higher—pops,
breath escapes into the white sky,
where it hangs like a lost prayer.

Her breath, loose,
looks down and watches her.
Her breaths are the tiny souls of her moments.
Her chest rising, her fingers aching,
still waiting.