First Drafts: July 4, 2017

The Arizona night growls,
Cicadas perched on the blistered

Leaves of near bare summer
Tree branches, their

Thousands of throats an
Aggressive hum competing against

Man-made thunder. The air hangs
Greasy with charcoal, cordite,

And the tang of scorched hair and
Burnt skin. There’s a moment of complete

Silence just as an M-80 sucks in
The air around it, a noise that

Sounds something like battered lungs
Being kept alive in an iron casket,

A hissing, and then a violent belch of
Light and noise. Each time one of

These ¼ sticks of dynamite go off, I
Remember a Mexican girl I went to

High school with who had the same
Name as my wife. The girl was

Standing in the hall near her locker
When she saw a wisp of smoke

Coming from a trash can, she bent
Forward and then the small bomb

Exploded so loudly that the entire
Student body jumped and held their

Breath, ready for the collective scream
That we all knew was coming.

The Mexican girl wasn’t burnt by
The explosion, but a small piece

Of smoldering paper floated into
Her eye and she had to wear an

Eye patch the rest of the year.
This will always be my Fourth

Of July memory, even though it wasn’t
The fourth of July.


Morning Soundtrack: The Sinking Of The Titanic By Gavin Bryars