The motion was easy to follow:
fill your mouth with air, blow
it into the limp plastic bag, quickly
tie it up with a string to keep the
air in. She did that every morning
to help her mother start the fire
to prepare the day’s meal. She
would fight the smoke to run successive
motions, her chest expanding the same way,
with eyes closed to avoid the embers.
Her forlorn gaze was unflinching now –
this balloon-blowing was a competition
and the kids rewarded for directing their breath.