The way the ones the helium’s
fizzled from droop
make him look like an octopus
holding maracas, blue daubs at each limb’s end
bobbing in the current.
God knows he hates a spectacle.
Even one so delicate.
Some dogs on leashes
mutter at his passing
strangeness, their lady stern
in moon-eyed lenses. The leather of her
neck cinched, reptilian.
He wonders what it would take
to make its full flare of colors bloom.
Charlie Clark’s work has appeared in Best New Poets 2011 as well as Blackbird, The Laurel Review, Smartish Pace, West Branch, and other journals. He studied poetry at the University of Maryland and lives in Austin, Texas.