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Thursday, March 24, 2016


by Kristina England

Image source: Chasing Davies

I take my nephew to Sesame Street Live.
Sick, I would rather inchworm under
a comforter, so I buy him a juice box,
let him sit an aisle away, the show far
from sold out, convince myself it will
give him some freedom and space.

At intermission, there are Elmo balloons.
JoJo begs for Cookie Monster blue.  I tell
him they're double-sided, the back is fire
red, because everything has two faces.
He clenches his hands, won’t give up,

keeps stammering, I want it. I want it.
I say there's a difference between want
and need, reject his appeals. He contorts
his three-year-old face into a tantrum
that's acceptable at his age, later uses
his empty fist to rub away tears as
we head for the car, hand in hand.

Three days pass. Brussels is bombed.
Terrorists say the worst is yet to come.
And, sure enough, the comb-over man
climbs on dead bodies to point at polls,
tantrums his way into too many minds,
terror his decor for the Presidential bed.

I can hear Mick Jagger singing what
I've already seen back at the theater
when a girl lost her newly purchased
balloon. My nephew and me, necks
craned, watched a bag full of gas
float to the arched, heaving ceiling.

I wonder if the balloon stayed there
long after we left, long after the girl
cried out all her snot.  I want to go
back, not to retrieve a present for
my nephew, but rather to see if that
tinfoil face has popped or if it is still
clinging to an ounce of substance.

Kristina England resides in Worcester, Massachusetts.  Her writing has been published in several magazines, including Gargoyle, Silver Birch Press, and Story Shack Magazine.