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Poetry

On July Fourth

Steve Smith

on july fourth
it was raining but light and
oddly in the sun
as we arrived at the tiki bar
but suddenly
even before beers arrived
an explosion

and the women screamed
at the table where
the blast thundered as
down a violent canyon

my ears rang and i cursed
the origin
then a second explosion
away from tables
less effacing to the pastel
colors of the open air bar

still, booming, roaring

and i studied the bar
for signs
to my right men guffawed
and clung to one another
hyenas

and i studied the men
for a sign
one right hand flashed
and hid a butane lighter
hyenas

my ears rang
my wife chattered
with her friend
violent sharp blades
about the hyenas

you the proprietor?
you—dancing, clinging
to the crush of
hyenas

they parted from
laughter and turned to
me to study me
the man with the
question.

you the man?—yes
well i say fuck that to
what just happened.

and the hyenas
all turned from one
another to
study me.

and the weight of
glares and American
tradition was upon me
and my question.

and we stood there
glaring back:
me and my
question.

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