January 5 & 6

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Excerpt from “The Armadillo” by Elizabeth Bishop

 

This is the time of year

when almost every night

the frail, illegal fire balloons appear.

Climbing the mountain height,

 

rising toward a saint

still honored in these parts,

the paper chambers flush and fill with light

that comes and goes, like hearts.

 

Once up against the sky it’s hard

to tell them from the stars–

planets, that is– the tinted ones:

Venus going down, or Mars,

 

or the pale green one. With a wind,

they flare and falter, wobble and toss;

but if it’s still they steer between

the kite sticks of the Southern Cross,

 

receding, dwindling, solemnly

and steadily forsaking us,

or, in the downdraft from a peak,

suddenly turning dangerous.

jan06-2017l

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