by Jennifer K. Sweeney

one simple thing
a weightless note full of rise

form as dependent on breath
breath as dependent on lungfuls of habit and duty

two white balloons behind the bone cage
sea-moons buoyant in the sea-body

on the night of her birthday
a woman dreams of a thousand

white balloons pouring
from the curtains of the sea

everything winterish and beautiful
a thousand billowings

failing as pieces of sky fall
all the time and we do not see them

this is the gravity of happiness
giving breath back

the world is possible
and beyond human
“Song for a White Balloon” appears in Jennifer K. Sweeney’s collection  How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009), available at

Image: “Scattered Crowd,” art installation by William Forsythe. Learn more at