The balloon men wander through their new-formed cave.
It is made of tent flaps and old sails—I do not think it will fly;
these are the same men who work the soil all day…
what do they know of leaving the earth?
I’ll be a courser, in a reconstructed army jeep,
and the driver will trace their path mazelike
through the vineyard backroads he knows like his pocket
which contain a battered flip phone and a thin black wallet.
But it’s more than that, he tells me: it’s the stitching
and the lint. It is the telling wear at a certain seam
and the discolored fading on the exterior of a pair of jeans
where the wallet rests inside.
It is simple physics: hot air rises.
That is why the storms come and batter the crops
and pull the riggings and strain the fabric
but the tension pulls evenly if the seams are sewn right;
the seams are what would break first, air slipping out
like grain from a hopper. The way they talk,
you’d think it isn’t possible.
It isn’t possible,
the driver says;
my wife—she sewed it herself. They’ll be okay.
Andy Keys is a writer from Sandpoint, Idaho, the child of a weaver and a winemaker, and an MFA candidate at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Their poetry has appeared in Queen Mob’s Teahouse and ST.ART Magazine. You can find them on Instagram at @_andykeys.