Riverside for the Fourth

How interesting that fireworks now bring us together
when they represent devices that once tore us apart.

-Terry Scott Niebeling

***

here, 10pm, crowds on spread tarps and chairs,
thoughtfully placed earlier,
chatted along a spilt-over sidewalk path,
coming down to the Riverside fest grounds
with family and friends;
these goers were just stepping through, at a time.

taking air along the luminescence of the waters’ edge
waiting for fire, explosions, light and smoke,
waiting for a show of power
on the concussion boom’s holiday eve
of a hot summer day.

notice the faint ghost outline of the Cass st. bridge,
it went up tall toward the south on wet glow,
pale blue in orange light as navigational lights
sent from boats bounced to and fro below signaling.

where mayflies flew, stunk, buzzed;
their fate kept them at lamps
busy for their annual dance.

people in groups—no worse,
buttoned up, oohing and aaaahing,
taking such a spectacle.

for a time
the mass was all American,
for a time nothing else mattered.

viewing were homeless and rich
in the same theatre vantage;
spirits were aloft as this year’s sparkling
in gunpowder and smoke,
the thought that everything was all right,
illuminated on another shore—
in a time of celebration, in a nation
under a spangled flag.

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