There was no plan before we left.
We just took off together—as if lured by sirens singing.
Beneath the stars, you steered me to the places that you love,
made mysterious by the flare of rockets red glaring.
Through the cemetery and down the hill
To where the waters waited,
And the path was still and free of people.
We walked along Buck Creek Trail that Fourth of July.
Chasing fireworks just out of reach.
The flash bang of concussions meeting us in the dark.
As slick, silent waters slid past a fallen tree.
Fireflies flickered, semaphore signals, beneath a gibbous moon.
When I was younger, I thought it was called a ‘Gibbon’ moon.
I couldn’t help but wonder…
Do monkeys dance bathed by lunar luminescence thinking it is day?
Or does the Man in the Moon wear a simian grin?
My, how that mischievous moon loomed large.
A low-hanging pendulum ticking in the tree tops.
Playing peek-a-boo behind Earth’s shadow
While the jealous sun searched for its hidden lover.
And as we walked through the humid musk
Of night smells and sulfur from plentiful explosions.
Every inhalation left an acrid taste upon the tongue.
Around each curve we anticipated the next cascade to come.
But we never quite caught the pattern of their detonation.
Overhead, we spied
A flickering emanation—a sky lantern floating.
The softness of a scene unmarred until…
Followed by an emptiness–ears still ringing.
Eyes straining for a light in the dark.
Then the skies rained down with jeweled profusions.
The distant constellations twinkling in the smokey aftermath.
When the pyrotechnics paused
“Was that it? The last one?”
A serpentine hiss trailed an invisible propulsion
Launching upward, arcing toward the vault of heaven.
Earthbound, we held our breath in anticipation…
Will it wax with radiance, or fizzle, wither, and die?
Or will it flower, hanging time itself upon a belt of sky?
Silver sparks streak, descend.
Causing seizures of joy in small children.
Cascades of tinsel dripped down from a dark blue heaven.
You laughed and pulled me forward through the night
Following an ever-moving horizon.
You never caught them—the manmade stars you chased.
But then, that was never your goal.
You wandered the night in search of adventure.
Lured by a golden monkey moon winking down at us,
As if imparting a cosmic joke before we departed.
Back through the cemetery we went
Where the little chapel hides in hedgerows
Sparklers briefly crowning the trees in red, white, and blue tiaras.
And there was no tomorrow yet to fear.
There was only the night and the steps we took beneath a silvery moon.
While the fire flies danced to a tune only they could hear…
…in the dark
…on the path
…along Buck Creek Trail.