Fourth of July

I remember, Dana,

Uncle Jimmy setting off fireworks

at Mama’s house on Eighteenth street.

Anxiously piled up on the front steps,

stacked on top of each other,

like cotton balls in a bag, exploding

cherry bombs,

block busters,

shrieking and laughing,

Roman candles,

bottle rockets,

giggling with anticipation,

M-80’s, Lady Fingers,

our sparklers gleaming in our hands.

We were the center of attention in the neighborhood.

Everyone on their stoops, enjoying our show,

street filled with wrappers,

shredded red wrappers,

strips of colored paper,

air heavy with perfume,

sulfur, gunpowder.


I remember, Dana,

holding our ears tight,

you sitting on my lap, squealing—



This year, Dana,

I will sit atop my house,

watching other shows,

the spectator of an anonymous artist,

watching displays not meant for me,

watching them light up the valley,

sparkling diamonds, free from a ring,

reflecting the colors of your dreams,

trying to emulate the stars

in your young eyes.

copyright 2015 by Katie Pifer




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