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