The Fourth of July

This morning, as steam escaped then plumed
from the kettle’s mouth, the day’s first airlift flew
overhead with its woeful thwap and thrum.
Inside it is some frail lady who, overcome
by potato salad, people, and heat, succumbed
to stroke, or a man who, tinkering with the pontoon
of his boat back by the engine, lulled by fumes,
slipped quietly beneath the green surface
for five full minutes before his absence was
noted, or else a kid whose fingers turned
to streamers and confetti after he lit and burned
a quick, wonky fuse. We hear the wail, see the flickering
red flare of the van now parked two streets away, musing
on the sacrifice of these who give their lives on this day.
At noon the shadows turn, go the other way.

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