On my fourth birthday I got a balloon
so red she could not have come from this world.
Leashing her through a field, I thought there might
be redheads whose hair burned like the balloon
so I named her Ulrikke and we scurried
in love through pastures shivering violets
and we danced between the heron and the owl
singing grasshoppers from slender grass,
kissing her face I could never see
behind the cayenne vines of her hair.
I proposed and she crooned Yes I will Yes
and I taped her drifting head in napkins
for a wedding dress and we got married
beneath a live oak older than America
before I kissed the bride and lost my grip
and she floated off and died and I died.
My mother tried to give me another balloon
to end my tears but I just wanted Ulrikke.
She entered the naked blue firmament
swirling with the south wind above all birds,
maybe falling towards a jade forest
where she lived with deer and rabbits
who, like Artemis, never saw a man
and with white napkins for wings gone again
until a poor child in Rio found her
weeping for me in sewer pipes with rats
bloated from scraps near black mobs of beetles
and the child let her fly beyond the slums
drowning in the Atlantic a mile
down and now I hear her sweet blue moans:
Remember my hair, my flaming hair.
I swim through your dreams
from anemone labyrinths.
Hell is separation from you
where you cannot find me when my helium
sings like a whale in abyss.
My rubber lips still taste your mouth
that no doubt has covered others’ sailing breaths.
Another field swells, a foam shore
lugs me each full moon
where you shall dissolve when our blood
filters through the deep’s primordial water.
Oceans echo shells forever by porpoise choruses
when we enter a lobster-prancing darkness
adorned with starfish and a billion pearls
born in pallid nacre,
the ballooning, whelk-jangled sea.
About Eric Fisher Stone
My name is Eric Fisher Stone, and I live in Ames, Iowa, USA where I am a graduate student at Iowa State University’s MFA in Writing and Environment program. My poetry has appeared previously in Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry, Jersey Devil Press, The Lyric, Yellow Chair Review, The Hopper, Eunoia Review, Turtle Island Quarterly among others.