Just like ordinary folk who didn’t have a noon-time gig,
we got up before dawn to watch the rising of the hot-air balloons
on that September day when the vineyards were filled
with clusters of grapes the color of wine saturated by night dreams.
First there were flames, bubbles of fire in the field,
each one heating up its collapsed sphere—
which then gradually filled and became swollen with color.
As the sun came up behind the hills, streaking the clouds pink,
the balloons began to rise into the sky. There were stripes,
indigo and lemon, scarlet and jade, lavender and azure;
there were roses on long stems, and daffodils;
there was a ship sailing on a cartoon sea,
and a champagne bottle seemingly filled with golden liquid.
We danced that day for an inebriated audience on a straw-filled field,
the balloons now flown away, wind-carried down the valley.
We danced reels to the bag-piped drone of a kilt-garbed piper,
us in our white petticoats and flounced plaid overskirts,
peasant vests tightly laced over white chemises,
a ribbon at our throats, garlanded flowers in our hair—
all tussled by the slight breeze carrying us westward.
Winter was in the air, but we didn’t notice it.
Once we had been too young to observe how seasons passed,
but now we walked through the vineyard to the wine tasting
in the arbor covered with rambling vines and clusters
of grapes, all destined to be crushed and left to ferment
in barrels for seasons to come after us.
We thought we still had summer dancing in our bones
and November was too far away for us to think about
any more than we thought about the balloons drifting into the west.