Issue 2
Balloons

Balloons

There were balloons.
In Leon, there were always balloons.
What else would make a little girl
run like that across the plaza?
And as long as there were balloons
there were vendors
with missing fingers
who spent the morning
emptying their lungs
into the Cinderella shape of those balloons
to lift your heart
out of this backwater.

The SUV, charged with Irani migrants,
Swerved underground through the colonial maze,
tunnels of gold once upon a time
worked by slaves, while
Uncle Majid kept reciting
that Kirk Douglas monologue in its Persian dub.
Death is the only freedom a slave knows.
That is why he’s not afraid of it.
That is why we’ll win.

Is Leon my memory or yours?
Who is Spartacus now?

Irony is an exhibitionist.
History is the most intimate
partner at midnight
and now it’s all on instagram anyway, the past,
so why shouldn’t you ask where I came from
who I am
what kind of freedom I’m peddling
in your plaza,
little balloon girl?
We recognized each other
looking skyward, attached to two
empty helium tanks,
wanting to be filled with something.
See me rise up, Spartacus.
See me yell balloon!
I am the little girl.
This is my plaza.