Mr. Balloon Animal Man

When I do a thorough spring cleaning every five or ten years
of random areas in my house, I’ll find things I’d forgotten I own.
Yesterday, in a closet, it was an air pump and a bag of balloons
resembling a colorful array of badly undernourished hot dogs.
A long time ago, I’d been intrigued by a man at Ala Moana beach park
who sat making balloon animals for children, collecting no payment,
doing it for the pleasure of seeing smiles on kids’ faces.
I’d known instantly I wanted to make those animals to impress my students.

I sat on the floor and pulled out a long yellow balloon.
I slid the lip over the nozzle of the pump
and proceeded to blow up part one of my attempt to craft a wiener dog.
Not inflating the balloon completely, so as to allow for twisting flexibility,
I tied it off, pulled out a shorter balloon and blew it up to just under full capacity.
This would be the two hind legs.
I twisted the second balloon around the rear of the first,
leaving enough of the first to be the tail.
As I wound the legs around the body, the second balloon popped.
I pumped up another short one to a lesser length, then attempted to wrap it around the first.
It too burst.

I recalled how I’d lost enthusiasm for developing my balloon artistry skills.
I stared at an exact replica of the umpteenth snake I’d made
over the course of my finally aborted apprenticeship.
This one I killed too, putting it out of its misery,
then placed the bag and pump back on the shelf for future rediscovery.

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