Blueberry pie and before that
stubby cobs of bi-colored corn.
You wear seersucker shorts, gobs
of lotion, lake-water skin.
Fireflies tickle ankles
Blue tongues come out laughing
Every year I mean to put up
peaches, fly the flag, let the screen
door bang behind me
as I rush to meet you.
I remember being held high by my father, the back of my head resting on his shoulder, secure in his strength. He was pointing at something special in the sky. Fireworks!
I remember sitting in the warm sand of Cradle Beach, hearing the fizzy sound of bottle rocks zipping over the lake, a spritzing sparkler held tight with the tips of my fingers. Fireworks!
There was my first summer in Berkeley when I felt the boom, boom, BOOM! in my chest as flashes of color lit up the fog. Foggy fireworks seemed odd.
And that time setting off one hundred dollars worth of Crazy Aces, Whistle Whirls, Hopping Tadpoles, and American Dazzlers Smuggled home from Pennsylvania! It was a pathetic pyrotechnic display of patriotism, yet thrilling for my ten year old son. A bunch of neighbors came out and watched from curbside. When the show was over and the smoke settled the street was littered in tiny flecks of red, white, and blue. Fireworks!
Then a couple years back, standing in a parking lot of the Oakland Airport, I was impressed forever by the extravagant chandeliers of light bursting over the coliseum. It was one of those rare summer nights, warm and clear — immediately nostalgic. I couldn’t help but belt out an off key version of The Star-Spangled Banner.
I’ve had sixty! July 4th’s and can’t remember even half of them. Anyway, I’m celebrating this one with a toast to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. Once again, it’s time to excavate the flag from the back of the closet, make a pie, dose the dog with Valium and LOOK UP!