Grocery store fireworks rupture 
the muggy afternoon, sounding like fistfuls of cash exploding, 
papery shreds falling onto pavement.  The cacophony
has already begun four days before July Fourth, and in broad daylight 
no less.  

I can picture the culprits.  Little kids running amok
in sopping suits waiting for the bang, the rainbow burst, the swimming pool last moment’s marvel; a mother and father fiddling 
with a stubborn fuse, wondering if five seconds of glory
will be worth the money invested, the time spent.

All wait, anxious, as the whistling firecracker curlicues
into the sunny sky.
It starts with a bang and ends with a fizzle.
Sparks flutter back to earth.  So much for stardust.
Instead of a spectacle, all they got was a sound, a nuisance
for the neighbors.  I roll my eyes and try to calm
the cats, smooth their puffy tails.

Yet I suppose I must admire the shameless audacity,
the irrational hope it takes to look for the light
where there should be none.