July 4th, 1988

Flag ankle socks in red Keds with corkscrew laces
Navy shorts with a striped cotton top
Shiny ribbons tying up a curly ponytail

Sunshine in a cobalt sky with marshmallow clouds
Cicadas and sprinklers clicking their beats
Steam rising from hot sidewalks

Streamers flapping from handlebars
Woven through bicycle spokes
Wreathing mailboxes and car antennas

Floats, balloons and marching bands
Gleaming classic cars rolling slowly by
Mini flags waving to America the Beautiful

Wax wrapped taffy and Tootsie Rolls
Fluorescent suckers and bubble gum
A pre-Halloween booty scattered at our feet

Saw horses and police tape blocking the street
Neighbors gathering a mishmash of chairs and tables
Dressed with colorful clothes and tablecloths and food

Juicy burgers with cold condiments and salty chips
Potato salad and fruit salad and bean salad
Tangy punch staining lips and tongue crimson

Women laughing, swapping recipes and compliments
Men talking baseball and debating the best lawn
Children racing from yard to yard, bare foot and full of life

Yeasty smell of beer mixing with the char of a rocket
Tables laden with frosted cakes topped with berry flags and pies galore
Frisbees in the air, mitts in hand, jump ropes and bikes littering the ground

Balmy dusk welcomes sparklers and mosquitos
Writing our names in the dark air
Chasing fireflies, lighting mason jars

Blankets at our backs, giggles in our throats
Blades of grass becoming chains and whistles as we wait
Sky booming, flashing, sizzling with color

Walking home holding hands and flashlights
One more sparkler, one more sweet bite
Dazzling senses become dreams for next year

Free to be happy
Happy to be free
Happy Fourth of July!



Moored to circumstances
tugged by tides,
tied to the moon.
Essence obscured
in dusky waters –

The soul I know flowing,
sure undetected current.
thousands – once known
by name.

A voice calling underwater, “Friend!”
Gurgle unanswered.

(I would pay a siren trunks of doubloons to call her back.)

She – a sweet alto
aria of sunshine,
curling along summer breezes,
extending happy melodies
toward every dawn –
now soured, tangled
with seaweed.

Mahogany mantled ships,
her beloved eastern sentinels,
now drifting splinters.

(There is no glue,
no peg,
no twine to heal
a hull back to maidenhood.) 

Joy crests but ebbs
too quickly.
Not lost – fleeting,
like a fresh sip
on swollen tongues.

Tide Maker,
Sea Salter,
Rainbow Reefer –
scoop me
out of these midnight depths.
Spear me if you must.

Merciful, an undertow
to propel me forward.
Peril of drowning carries
hope of new horizons.

Foreign vessels lap
gently along fresh dawns,
waiting to embrace the friend
thought lost.