ON THE 4TH OF JULY

Listen to the trees. Give them
your eyes and skin. Let the wind be
your interpreter, and though you won’t
understand exactly what they’re saying,
you will know they’re voices
do not lie as they move like beasts
breathing, cat tails waving,
beckoning you to join the dance.

Let the backyard opera commence:
clouds, a cyclorama pushed by wind,
spruce cones dropping, plopping
as the boughs begin tossing . . .
Vaporous jelly fish swim at the darkening
edges, cling to the deep and dissolve
in the distant rumbling
that sends every trunk and limb
swaying and playing in the gusty
winds. Aspen leaves quake,
the maples sing: shhhhhhhh . . .

Let your ringing ears succumb
to the rushing surges blowing this
thunderstorm in . . . The air moves
the hair on your arms, your head.
Can you smell the raindrops?
Just be here in the breeze? A part of this
weather and chlorophyl? It may be
as close to peace as you’ll ever get . . .

Until a jet flies in low stealing the thunder,
interrupting the show, followed
by childrens’ voices, popping fireworks,
the fluttering flag on a neighbor’s porch.
Pomp and patriotic platitudes blow in
the banquets, banners, and brass bands
tooting the Old Glory horns of God—
those white stars floating a navy-
blue sea streaked with blood-
stained tepees, and Africans hanging
limp in trees . . . trees like these
that do no harm nor declare bullshit
like “freedom isn’t free” or
“make America great!” Again,
close the door, and turn the key.

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