Nostalgia, July 4
Bradley Clompus

Nostalgia, July 4

Someday people might refer
back to us as markers, say
In that time children ran
around with sparking wands,

the white-hot filaments
shedding lavishly until
depleted. My son,
though scared of being
seared, still craves
the effect: Look at me,
m a crazy comet.
Our host delivers
matchbox cannons,
arrays them in rows,
point-blank, lights
their absurdly
short fuses. Soon 
only streaks of ash
sully the ground.
Then he kneels
by a small tube
with stubby wings,
and it starts spinning
deliriously, rises up, up
into our heaven of overlapped
maples—and never comes
down. Our host lights
another and it zips beyond
the trees, vanishes among 
slate planes that imply a roof.
Will there be fire? Not
tonight. No one yet
loses a home; no
child collapses
on the pavement,
overwhelmed by
sheer spectacle.

Bradley Clompus

has contributed poetry and prose to such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Cimarron Review, Denver Quarterly, North American Review, Post Road, RHINO, and Willow Springs.