Wish Lantern Over Muscongus Sound

by Rachel F. Seidman

We know nothing
about currents of wind or water.
We have only hope and intuition.
And a slightly risky faith
that our innocence and good intentions
on a celebratory night
mean no disaster
should result.

Standing there in the darkness
on the edge of land abutting the sea.
But it’s just a bay
not so far from other people’s houses,
lawns and meadows
of summerdry goldenrod.

We hold aloft a rice paper balloon,
light a match
to the cardboard square suspended
at its base.
Like magic, like a prayer,
like the directions predict
the crinkling white boat
fills with air,
rises.

The little boys shriek
and adults gasp
as the dream of fire and air and light
floats first
too close too close
to the lone tree
but suddenly
swoops and dips below
the branches and then

up and out and beyond
safely over the water
as if guided by more than our breathholding wishes.

Flying over the ink blue sea
the orange white sketch of a moon
sways and silently skims the air
higher and farther and faster than we imagined
but exactly as we hoped.