Missing itBy Justine Joseph
Went the red balloon with its helium heart.
Somehow, it detached itself from the party string
From the ground
From the ground
With the eyes of the little boy following
While all the other eyes looked
At the candles
On the cake
On the table
On the grass
On the bedrock
On the core of fire that is the Earth.
There, on that surface, the boy’s mother lit five candle fires,
Their flames went up,
As the red balloon
Or the little boy’s eyes
That didn’t see his candles,
Or notice that Happy Birthday To You was being sung all around.
So, when the song finished,
The little boy looked
To the red mote of dust balloon on a cloud,
His neck folded sheer in half,
Head back, lolling,
“Sebastian, what are you looking at?”
His mother’s eyes and all the party eyes looked
From candles to cloud to try and see
What he saw
But, they could not,
They missed it.
While everyone looked up,
A little girl in a blue dress saw all the lolling heads
Leaned in through the quiet,
Towards the table,
And the red centre of the Earth,
And the cake,
She blew out the candle fires in one big breath
The little boy missed it.
Justine Joseph, writer
Based in Cape Town, Justine is a scientist by training and a word person by profession. She has an Honours degree in Cell Biology and 12 years experience as a magazine features writer and investigative journalist. She is now the editor of social innovation newspaper, Inside|Out and co-author of the book The Story of the Fly and How it Could Save the World – currently completing a second book in this series. In a parallel universe Justine is working on a collection of strange poems and fiction (thepoemthings.blogspot.com). Two of her works are being published in Heart of Africa! Poems of love, loss and longing (African Sun Press) to be released December 2014, and three of her latest experimental flash fictions have been accepted for the next international literary journal MadHat Lit print annual #16. She’s also working on a collaborative exhibition of poetry and photographic art scheduled for November 2014 in Cape Town.