Decoded from the Fireworks above the Charles

My fiancee and I and a few friends went to see the fireworks over the river on the Fourth. It was beautiful. We rented canoes and loaded them with food, books, and, because we are after all millennials, with our iPads. Thus prepared for our two-hour trek, we paddled our tipsy little vessels out into the breach, dodging other boats and smelling of sunscreen. The river churned under the engines of bigger boats until it behaved like another, larger body of water, its waves pushing and hefting us unpredictably. Together, we stayed atop them, and with the others, we watched the sky.

Blue faded to deep indigo and the first of the explosions began. We lay in the bottom of the boats, our books and food and tech forgotten, watching the marriage of color and sound above us, a riot for the gods. 

I’d been reading all day before we went out, and when I say that I mean I’d been reading for nine solid hours. Everything looked like a line of text to me. When I first thought I saw letters forming and vanishing one by one in the big white bloomer above, fast as flickers, I thought I was seeing things. But this is, after all, Boston, and as far as I’m concerned, the location is the explanation. Here’s what I read beginning from the time when I started writing down what I was seeing in the sky, which was maybe five minutes into the show. I’ve separated the story (poem?) out by individual salvos where possible. Forgive me if my memory is shaky when it comes to edits. When the finale began, it was all I could do to keep up. 

Morning and sunset in the same moment

A lifetime of falling fire we pay the toll of heat and light

Gravity is the mother gatekeeper and we never met our father the rocket

Now we are ash children falling to a dirt world

A meteorite mistaken for a star or an absurd plummeting whale

All falling things are brothers unmindful of their moment

Heaven’s location depends on where we began

We began above




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