The Ring of Fire from Fire Mountain *

"Fire Mountain" or Neahkahnie Mountain on the north Oregon coast

“Fire Mountain” or Neahkahnie Mountain on the north Oregon coast

 Evening of July Fourth

From the top of Neahkahnie at nine o’clock
sixty-five bonfires are visible on the beach.

Impatience launches fire crackers,
fountains, mortars, and spinners,
as far down the beach as we can see –
past Manzanita, Brighton, Rockaway,
maybe as far as Garibaldi.
Screamer rockets back up the scorched
red and gold chrysanthemums.
Blasts reverberate up the rock.

A one-thousand-foot radius circle in the sand
is cordoned off for contracted fireworks
starting at ten. Exactly then.

Thirty-eight minutes of rockets.
Up, up. Out over the ocean. Motley gold flames
birth from the drizzled glitter of each last sizzle.

Sky-flowers bloom and boom above the whale road.
Smoke bunches into a black cloud
at the base of the mountain.
The winds blow it east to the forest.

I know the nightfall-fate
of those living fireworks,
plover, gull and cormorant.

* A poem from Tricia Knoll’s Ocean’s Laughter, Aldrich Press 2016