Balloon Seller

by Mathew Paust

I learned his real name this morning

found it on Wiki: Royal Doulton item HN479

eBay prices in the hundreds

we called our plaster copy simply

Balloon Man

Conceived in my father's celebration of bathos

painted by my mother with meticulous attention to his

critical interest

skin color and shading their singular aesthetic collaboration

giving me an early intimation of a Giacometti agony

My father's extravagant vocal quaver when he'd say

Balloon Man

seemed a peremptory admonishment

with empathy obliging diligence

Balloon Man sits on a shelf, bracing my self-published books