balloons on your chair.

july 15th was my cousin’s birthday.  it was his first in heaven; it was our first without him.
____
it was your birthday…
and i cried for you.

seeing balloons dance in the wind
around grief..
around graves…
i cried for you.

everyone had left by then.
i was late to the party they had;
work got in the way.

but i was told they held balloons for you
and let them go,
and laid cards on the dirt
in front of the plaque with your name.

by the time i got there,
there were no cars.
rain had soaked through the cards;
it soaked through me,
standing in the dark alone.

i have cried for you.
many times, actually.
but this time, all of it hit me
in a way it never has before.

the balloons danced around your grave
and i sobbed.

maybe it was the rain…
maybe it was the dark…
maybe it was the traffic nearby drowning out the sound…
but i sobbed.

i remembered your parties in the past…
you with your bowl-cut
blowing out candles
sitting in your momma’s kitchen,
balloons taped to your chair.

the birthday boy always had balloons on his chair.

i realized with that memory that
it wasn’t the rain,
it wasn’t the dark or the cars.

it was those balloons.
they made me cry,
harder than i ever have for you.
they belonged on your chair,
not on your grave.

not on your grave.

happy birthday, mark…
i would give you well-wishes,
but you are already There,
where all things are well.

i love you… and i miss you.
and i know it seems silly, but i hope that There…
There they gave you balloons on your chair.


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