FIREWORKS, GREENSBORO, NC
We are still lovers leaning
so deeply into one another
the slightest shift translates
into fall. We lie on the blue threads
your grandmother knotted into a blanket.
Above, the pyrotechnics bloom with the precision
of peonies and double-pistilled chrysanthemums.
Everything tonight will rise up
and die between us.
The town children all wear the same mask
laced with a smile for the crack
and flash fracturing the sky,
a field of heartbeats dissolving
into smoke. Ash drifts down like snow
caught in a negative. I trace an ember’s
on a blade of grass at the blanket’s edge.
Look. Small fires consume our shadows.
Ask me why my hands are seared
with sweat. Sowhen the finale
spreads its cinders across the sky
I can answer by leaning away, reaching
for that blade of grass smothered with ash,
the one I fold so gently into your pocket
you never knew I was there.
Fritz Ward completed his MFA at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, where he served as poetry editor for the Greensboro Review. He currently coordinates special events for United Way in Sarasota, Florida. His poems have appeared in the Southern Poetry Review, Wisconsin Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Clackamas Review, and other journals. His poem “Evergreen Mobile Home Park” was recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize.