Winter 2007 • Vol. XXIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 2007 |

Independence Day, 2005

  It's not the bombs
Of light that thrill, big thumps
  Drummed at us, time-delayed,
 From our white-out war against the sky,
    But it's the shapes

  We marvel at,
Pink and gold fritillaries, ascending
Flares that burst,
 Silver machine-gun asterisks of hail,
    Rose, aquamarine.

  Another explodes,
And a day-glow cube races toward us
  As from some far-off
 Galaxy—or is it just a huge TV
    Flittering out?

  It's Christmas
Someone shouts, when a smiley face
  Blooms red and green
 Out of the drifting fog of smoke
    That looks backlit

  Like a movie set.
Now a glowing willow of sparks
  Rains for what feels
 An infinite pause before the dying
    Cells revive,

In what looks like whirligigs of sperm
  Swimming intently
 For the Earth's darkened ovum
    Where they fall, fade.

  On the river
Yachts and cruise boats dawdle
  Under the show
 Safely awash in waves of flame,
    While above a blimp

  Blazons Old Glory
In the digital clouds. Somebody
  Calculates each burst
 Amazingly for such effect
    So we stay hushed

  Or cheer, or whoop
Like the man shouting behind us Yes,
  The mock love-cry
 Making some of us laugh,
    In each eye

  The same blinding
Flashes that fury the skyline's
  Window mirrors,
 As buildings keep standing
    In a powder shower

  From launch and barge.
Look: the last charges blast their tiger's face
  Into the night
 As though we each were the tamer
    It lunges for—

  O I forget the name
Of the mauled: Was it Siegfried or Roy?
  Behind us, a child
 Screams into the bestial teeth,
    But only for joy.

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