July 4, Plum Island

Poem by Midge Goldberg

From this beach, we see as far as Rye,

Hampton, Salisbury, south toward Wingaersheek.

Above each town small blossomings appear—

red, green, gold—phosphorous against the sky.

Up and down the island, home displays—

a single Roman candle, flickering sparklers

set off one by one, swallowed by darkness,

until the only glow is from the waves.

Then next to us two inky silhouettes,

outlined in the sputtering of matches,

coax a fuse. They stand up as it catches,

becoming giants in the burst of light,

then shrinking back down earthward as it launches.

The stars surround us, spangling the night.

American Arts Quarterly, Summer 2012, Volume 29, Number 3