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Fourth of July, 1992
By David Prestidge

Seven shots and a tonic later
(My God, I've had enough)
Venus twitched, nervously, then ducked
Behind a cloud
Just before our mayor, belt cinched like a bank
Across a lap drawing strength from middle
Age, says
"A Tribute to a Star Spangled Flag
This Star Spangled Night"

You see them before it hits you.
Incandescent, benign, gray phantoms
Trail vertically upward and,
Feigning non-existence,
Scatter blue-lidded barbs
That impale a tattered skein
Of velvet shadow.

I knew this man. We passed out tracks for our church.
Our pockets filled with pennies, big reds, black cats.
Unconfirmed men. Concealing our interest
We showered be-ribboned, half woman
With model napalm.

This no longer occurs.
(and our town the safer for it)
Those young girls, now women,
Offered several solutions--
None of which augmented our modest militia.

So now we get the safe show.
We rape the stars, their natural glow
Spoiled by municipal decree.
Yes, it's a safe show--But
Your ears ring hours afterwards and
Your hair smells of cinder, flint, sulfur.
And the trajectory!
The light!
Like light, drawn from a rasping iode,
Casting vague haloes over a glass sea.
No girls run for cover.

God will bless our town
Our hunkered down town
Leaving tracks in a crowded sky
Like distilled evolution.

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Document last modified on: 09/07/1999

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