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On July 4th We seem to celebrate Less and less Our independence

And more and more Who we are today, More and more What we have become From 226 years of history, Celebrating and making peace With our past. This is good and necessary As we fractious children Need a day of togetherness To forget the fuss and fight. Just one day. I have been gone too long, Abroad in the land. My apartment complex Has a pool, And I walk there With a plum in hand From my brother’s tree. At the pool A complex of kids Of every type and color Play king of the hill On a rubber raft of The American flag. This is what I think about

This 4th of July. We are now every nation. It wasn’t that way When I was young. 15 It is better now. I sit in the shade And bite the plum. Instantly I am startled, All sound stops. I close my eyes,

And the taste of plum Is full and round, A perfect sweetness, Like a madeleine From the country Across the sea That gave us The Statue of Liberty. The taste accelerates me backward To my childhood And another day By another pool On another 4th. The old music

Sketches across my mind, Kate Smith and Sousa And, of course, Tchaikovsky. Calliope visions tumble around – My friends, our families The heat of the day The cool of the pool The games, the dance Losing at checkers Winning at chess, Water balloons And greased watermelons, Playing with fire At the end of the day, Making out With stick figure girls Who would become the queens Of my desire, The hellions Of my nightmares,

And the last time I bit a plum That tasted this damn good. I open my eyes, And the sound returns. They say,

You can never go home. I say, I can’t disagree more. In your heart And in your mind, You never really leave.

Sep 30, 2020



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