all this burning

The harried waitress inflates a red balloon and ties it with a ribbon around the thin wrist of my son. At home, he lets it float up to the ceiling.

Each day falling, diminishing until it is a small puckered thing on the floor. 

They lose interest. They run hot and then so cold. I hold the diminished thing in my hands. Everything that could have been something else. 

We are at the theatre. We are at the restaurant bar on high stools. We are in the school gymnasium taking photographs of a man holding snakes. We are waiting in idling cars. 

Here is something that you are not often told: There are stretches of boredom. Aching. What to do with your hands and arms. Where to put yourself. You arrange yourself on a chair or you stretch yourself across your bed. You hold your face in your hands and rub at your eyes. 

Here you are, blinking, adjusting to the light. 

Here you are. 

We keep disappointing, don’t we? 

I write you a script. I will say this and now you say this. Go ahead, read what is on the page. Not what you were going to say. It is simple, really. Read it with me, go ahead now. 

There. Was that so hard?

I am not interested in your scandals. In what you call news. I am not interested in your “bold, decisive actions,” how you boldly bolden a bold trail of boldness. 

I have a little houseplant with thick brown stems that coil up toward the light. The leaves are glossy and cluster in pairs. They are the upturned palms of the faithful, singing hosannas. 

Hello again, morning. Hello again, darkness.

There is precision in silence. It is unforgiving. 

I read a story about a woman who lost her cat. I read a story about a man who lost his mother. I read a story about a man who set himself on fire. 

All this burning.