Daily, her bus brakes
in front of our periwinkle

house. Her bag of books beached like a whale

on her back. I do not want—do not make me—go—stalling

until the driver’s foot gasses, gone.
I strap her

into the back seat of our Dodge Caravan and drive her

to the school of her troubles. Rear-viewed her cheek-skin’s wet, her blue-veined

lids shut. We pass
a white picket fence—look—

I point, to distract us.
The tulips of Main Street

are standing up cup to cup gape-mouthed, loud red—

what she claims is
flowers are best before

they are open.
I park, try to pry

her out. My head feels—
what now?—like it has a box in it.

I unbuckle her. I don’t want
to fail her, but she won’t budge.

I sit beside her. Is there anything in it, your box? No—

wait—there’s a flower. Tulip?
No. Balloon.

This balloon in your brain, what does it want?

It wants to get out.

sand hills

Kelly DuMar is a poet, playwright and workshop facilitator from Boston.
She’s author of three poetry chapbooks, girl in tree bark (Nixes Mate,
2019), Tree of the Apple (Two of Cups Press), and All These Cures,
(Lit House Press). Her poems, prose and photos are published in many
literary journals including Bellevue Literary Review, Tupelo Quarterly,
Crab Fat, Storm Cellar, Corium & Tiferet. Kelly serves on the Board of the
International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG) and produces the Bi-Monthly
Open Mic Writer Series attended by women worldwide. She blogs her daily
nature photos & creative writing at kellydumar.com/blog