Marlin M. Jenkins

Pokédex Entry #425: Drifloon → #426: Drifblim

It is whispered that any child who mistakes Drifloon for a balloon and holds on to it could wind
up missing

[evolves into] →
At dusk, swarms of them [Drifblim] are carried aloft on winds. When noticed, they suddenly

!50!!5!I wake and have the same fingers. Same body. Same aimless

gravity holding a child with growing hands. Not all my mistakes

!100!are mistakes. The hole I drilled in my bedroom wall

!50!!5!was not a mistake. I often dug holes

in the front yard—started at a patch where

!100!the grass was already stripped, hoped to strike

!50!!5!something: rock, metal, water, a portal

through the molten center of the warming earth. No one watched.

!100!Once, my sister accidentally let go

!50!!5!of a balloon as we got into our aunt’s minivan. I caught it

before it left for sky, hoped for it to take

!100!me with it—air-filled spirit not tethered to anything. We could

!50!!5!whisper to each other dreams, secrets

too dark to share with family or at school or anywhere else

!100!that’s not a therapy session, or our own

!50!!5!empty prayers, or in the recurring nightmares about teeth

and a balloon-filled void. We could drift

!100!aimless, vanish, join the other drifting spirits, maybe

even have our sudden absence be missed.

Marlin M. Jenkins was born and raised in Detroit. His poetry and fiction have been given homes by Indiana Review, The Rumpus, Waxwing, and Iowa Review, among others. He teaches writing and literature at University of Michigan, where he earned his MFA in poetry.