Sparks

by Rachel Creager Ireland

kids with long shadows
It’s the 4th of July and we’re out with the kids
no really it’s the 8th, our days are so full we
do too much, we’re just now
in the long dusk and dry heat opening the bag
of fireworks, not big ones, sparklers and little spinners
that fly and throw sparks I’m careful to grind to ash
once they’ve fallen.
The kids are afraid but excited,
admonishing us, their parents, to take care
as we take turns lighting fuses
with a punk we pass back and forth.
There are always a couple duds, but they were cheap
and there are more. I collect bits of plastic and paper
off the gravel, thinking about faraway birds and oceans
though we are a thousand miles from saltwater. It all matters.
I see a star, really a planet, I think Venus.
I start to make a wish as I walk
to the highway to pick up a fallen parachute. “No, Mama, no!”
Their dad runs out to beat me to it, we all laugh. I look
back to that star planet
and wish for this now: some kind of suspension,
this sweet laughter in dusky light with children
and sparks that die before they reach the ground,
this moment to be eternal, if only in memory
in me in the higher dimensions of the mind
to be somehow always, forever endless now.

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