“Balloon” by E. G. Burrows

E. G. Burrows

BALLOON

Bristling, dogs howled.
The smallest ran in circles,
unable to escape
the terror that fired with a roar
and hovered above runs and kennels.

Flame wrinkled the air
under the belly of the orange balloon-skin.
The ribs grinned like a jack-o’-lantern,
eyes lit
by a candle inside the skull.

A man held out his hand
to reassure the dogs, then he too
howled and ran in circles,
joyful that finally
the prophesied dragon had arrived,
descending with all its warheads primed,
its steel teeth bared to the gums.

from Rattle #17, Summer 2002