Submissions Flash Fiction Stories Novel Excerpts Poetry Stretching Forms Creative Non-Fiction Reviews Interviews Staff Links Word Riot Press

    3:AM Magazine
    Better Non Sequitur
    Brian Ames
    David Barringer
    Future Tense Publishing
    Jackie Corley
    Scott Bateman
    So New Publishing
...more links

Advertise with us
Three Poems
by Kathryn Regina

Interview with a Hot Air Balloonist

Hot Air Balloonist Magazine: Are you a hot air balloonist?

Hot Air Balloonist: Yes.

HABM: Why did you become a hot air balloonist?

HAB: Someone stole my bicycle.

HABM: Has anyone ever stolen your hot air balloon?

HAB: No.

HABM: What is the best part about the job?

HAB: Going up. The small flame. The thinning air.

HABM: What is the most challenging part about the job?

HAB: Getting down.

HABM: How do you manage to get down?

HAB: I find heavy things in the sky. On a clear day it can be difficult. The passengers are not much help. Once we get to the tree line it's easier. Branches are heavy.

HABM: Do the passengers enjoy the ride?

HAB: They feel happy before we go up and after we come down. While we're in the air they think about other things. One lady got upset when she had to throw her handbag and shoes over the side. They were weighing us down. Sometimes they try to take home a bit of cloud as a souvenir. They get frustrated when they can't. They are generally unhappy people.

HABM: How long have you been a hot air balloonist?

HAB: A man tied thousands of helium balloons to a lawn chair and floated around his neighborhood. He hovered over his dog and waved at his dog.

HABM: Are you going up right now?

HAB: Yes.

HABM: Do you think hot air ballooning is still a viable form of travel?

HAB: It doesn't...moment...giraffe knees...

HABM: I can't hear you anymore. Can you hear me?


HABM: Do you have any words of advice for young aspiring hot air balloonists?


the air does not hold memory or voice

it is hard to tell where my hands are
the cloud coverage hides shadow.

i have accidental dreams of fish, murder
and native Americans
. photography bores me,

literature bores me, vanished kidnapping victims bore me.
i have been to the same parlors you frequent, i know

that while i was dreaming you were gathering mushrooms
to poison my soup. you are getting close to me

so that murder can ensue.
the air does not look like you at all.

i have to stop looking at the trees though, they are expressive like
your face. you do not need to raise your eyebrows

so much. i get it. i get it.
things i know, i repeat

the hot air balloon: neutral, wiped of memories does not remind

nothing satisfies the empty space

cleopatra gazelle brought a horse on the balloon
and the candy striper didn't even bring medicine for my vertigo
the passengers are useless
i would climb down if my hair were longer
or if my anxiety could form a vine
anxiety is useless because it stays on the inside

watching a candy striper and a frame cleaner make out
is not that interesting. i am bored again
i would like to swallow a large piece of the atmosphere
and charm the horse while wrapping him in shroud
all the horses followed me home and slept
with me under silk sheets for years

it is dumb to put your lips on someone's lips; heat
comes from fire and not some unknowable source like
'love' or 'nuclear power.' sometimes he took pictures
of native americans and jousting weapons and
sometimes i confuse his face for pedro's face
but his face was not pedro's face and it was not clear

like my face and it did not glimmer like a silver dollar
and there is not enough room for a swollen heart,
a frame cleaner, a candy striper and a horse.
forty-seven people i've touched have died
i am not sorry. i regret the pollution but not everything:
i had a brief affair with mark rothko

About the author:
Kathryn Regina is a member of Venom Literati, a literary collective based in Chicago. She has work in
Court Green, elimae, Juked, Lamination Colony and Sleepingfish, among others. Her chapbook i am in the air right now is forthcoming from Greying Ghost Press. She writes things at and

© 2013 Word Riot

Advertise with us

Midnight Picnic
a novel by
Nick Antosca


The Suburban Swindle

More about The Suburban Swindle