Thomas M. McDade: “Puff of Eternal Hot Air”



Puff of Eternal Hot Air

Sometimes I think I sleepwalked 
Into an obliteration chamber that failed
Leaving me merely invisible

Take the time stranded in a long line
At a Dollar Tree, while the clerk inflated
A bunch of balloons and that break 

In the action gave an elderly woman time 
To take the floor to share a piece of her life 
She tells my wife, “Someday you’ll do this”

While holding up a bunch of artificial flowers
She’s going to place on her husband’s grave
I might as well have been hanging in effigy 

Off an errant balloon that the A/C 
Is bouncing along the ceiling for tots
Considering methods to go airborne

Her hubby fought in WWII and they were
Engaged before she finished high school 
He insisted on a diploma before wedding

I imagine inhaling helium and freaking 
Her out as if my voice were from a crypt
Landscaped with palms tall and plastic

Outside I say no blossoms or Mylar tributes
For me and I recall the clerk revealing that
The world supply of helium is waning

I release my some-morning-I-will-not-rise 
Fear as a mere puff of eternal hot air as any 
Man acquainted with invisibility might do


About the Author: Thomas M. McDade is a 74-year-old resident of Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT & RI. He is a graduate of Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran serving ashore at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Virginia Beach, VA and at sea aboard the USS Mullinnix (DD-944) and USS Miller (DE / FF 1091).


Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Hot Air Balloon Jubilee Festival, Decatur, Alabama” (2010) The Library of Congress

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