banksy girl with balloon
Balloon Moon
by Mary Ellen Talley

We have just walked out of Safeway
where the bakery worker
gave some leftover balloons
to my granddaughter, Taylor –
that is, of course, besides
the usual free cookie.

Oh, the shock as my granddaughter
enters her car seat
and ribbons of the balloon bouquet
slip off her small wrist.
Five balloons leap from the car
and quickly rise skyward
past houses and trees.
I know Taylor’s joy
will become sobs of grief
if I don’t turn this moment around.
I ask what little girl
might live on the moon tonight,
and perhaps she has been hoping for balloons.
Taylor says the girl’s name is Angie
and she will have her birthday party tomorrow.
I think I see Taylor’s imagination
ascend toward the waning gibbous glow
as the pastel balloons grow distant
far from this Seattle parking lot
into the moonlit sky.

IMAGE: Girl with Balloon by Banksy (2002). The image first appeared under the Waterloo Bridge in London during 2002 with the caption, “There is Always Hope.”

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote the first draft of this poem in 2012. Today as I revise the poem, my granddaughter is turning 14 years old. Back then, I was relieved and elated that we found a way to continue a pleasant overnight visit. I will give this poem to my granddaughter as a birthday gift. The memory remains close to my heart.

Talley 1. jpeg copy

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Ellen Talley’s recent poems have been published in Raven Chronicles, Banshee, What Rough Beast, Flatbush Review, and Ekphrastic Review as well as in the anthologies, Chrysanthemum and Ice Cream Poems. Her poems have received three Pushcart nominations and her chapbook, Postcards from the Lilac City, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2020.