by Barbara Brooks

They came in bags with rainbow colors.   
Growing up, I couldn’t blow them up 
but did like bouncing them around.  
Now, balloons are bright, shiny Mylar  
filled with helium. They, too, come in many colors 
and sparkle in the sun, bob in the breeze, 
take a long time to wilt. They announce if the baby
is a boy or girl. Attached to mailboxes, they lead 
the way to the birthday party or wedding reception.  
They even come in small sizes: get well.

But some are not so happy. The deflated silver one 
in the ocean eaten by a Leatherback turtle 
brings a slow death. Beside the road’s shoulder, 
they gather to mark the spot of lives taken.  
Sometimes they are joined by flowers 
and a cross with a name. Maroon, purple, silver,
they glint and dance in the sun but cannot 
hide the gash in the tree.

Barbara Brooks is a retired physical therapist living in North Carolina and a member of the poetry group Poet Fools. She is an avid birder and has traveled extensively throughout the world viewing wild birds in their natural habitat. She frequently incorporates nature in her poetry as an extension of her love of the outdoors. She has three chapbooks: The Catbird Sang and A Shell to Return to the Sea, Water Colors. She has published poems in a number of eclectic journals, such as Jellyfish Whispers, Tar River Poetry, Peregrine and Third Wednesday, Silkworm.