Suffer me a finale
To eclipse the smoke
Clogging the air
After the sparks give out
From the Suburban roof, we can see across the foothills. The night smells Americana from here
to Ft. Hood, where explosions Lite-Brite the flag that hypnotized our fathers
boarding the buses that took them to Baghdad
returning in a high school gym late in a line of starched collars (please come home)
two-stepping with Mom under barn lights
texas cantaloupe, junebug poolside, and our fathers
When the flag doesn’t take me to these places,
it guides my hand under your shirt in the bugging moonlight,
gentle between the distant flashes.
I am not a cloud. I don’t nourish the seedbed when I fall apart.
I am not my father.
We are not memories, but we’ve fixed each other in vignettes
like paint pooling in a minefield.
We seared the sky
chapter by chapter while the new scoreboard racked up lonely touchdowns
while we raced the barren miles to our secret places
And sparkled sweeter than National Anthem
a lusty pinwheel floating in the breath of our parents’ lectures
outside study hall, the color of love
red and blue fingers on our white, summery backs
tenderized with wine and bottle rockets
I only see the smoke
Choking the light show
It discolors my open mouth
Mud can be power-washed, plastic cups recycled.
Sunrise follows when the sparklers give out.
All smoke diffuses and the clouds might heal.