Diane Kendig

Fourth of July above the San Francisco Bay

Because we love the splash across our eyes,
we gathered on a ridge to cap the day.
We saw the day-old moon and Venus rise;
the nacre sky was blackening, and the bay.

We gathered on a ridge to cap the day
as the Chinese did two thousand years now past,
their nacre sky would blacken, and their bay.
We came at sunset, waiting dark, at last.

As the Chinese did two thousand years now past
to ward off fiends or boredom, so we came.
We stood at sunset, waiting for dark’s last
surprise. Sometimes the stars seem just too tame

to ward off fiends or boredom. So we came,
inlanders rapt by fireworks on ocean,
surprised. Sometimes the stars seem just too tame.
Two booms syncopated: green trajections.

Inlanders rapt by fireworks on ocean,
we smelled metallic sodium all around;
two booms syncopated: green trajections,
the finely-powdered alum glittered down.

We smelled metallic sodium all around.
A red mum grew, a copper-blue Saturn,
the finely-powdered alum glittered down
as a white palm tree top, seeded, toppled,

another mum, a copper-blue Saturn,
another, others whizzed, cracked, and poppled
as a white palm tree top, seeded, toppled–
then jumping crackers, Catherine wheels, bright burns–

another, others whizzed, cracked, and poppled.
Folks exploded in coos, oo’s, whoas, and sighs,
then jumping crackers, Catherine wheels, bright burns.
Next the finale, both the end and the prize.

Folks exploded in coos, oo’s, whoas, and sighs
because we love the splash across our eyes.
Then the finale, both the end and prize:
we saw the day-old moon and Venus rise.

***

Diane Kendig’s five poetry collections include her latest, Prison Terms. She recently co-edited  the anthology, In the Company of Russell Atkins. Her writing appears in journals such as J Journal, Under the Sun, and Blueline. Kendig lives in her hometown, after 40 years away, in the house her father built with his own hands in 1947. She curates the weblog “Read + Write: 30 Days of Poetry,” with 4,000 readers, for the Cuyahoga County Public Library.

A Poetry Journal

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