saw my first, real fireworks in college
until then the local VFDs, and Shriners tried
but that was then, before laws changed
probably before you could get
the good stuff
don’t know why I’m thinking this now
other than I’m on the old home place porch
after-rain sun streaming down the holler
and it’s warm, July warm
and it’s like I remember after school let out
trees fully leaved, hay needing cut
the rites of summer beginning
and after Decoration Day,
the next milestone, Fourth of July
don’t remember any picnics,
maybe a lake visit, and sparklers
firecrackers only when family came in
from Ohio, or Indiana, or back from beaches
so, it wasn’t until later, as a twenty-something
that I stood under a summer-dark sky
to gasp at the sheer power of explosive
sparks, showers of glowing metal dust
and reverberating booms
that I understood the word
a word that seems at odds with
this June evening
even as I grow