The Fourth
by Kevin Gardner

At the intersection, all I see are trees, cars, a road
that stretches from here to the ends, a pair of lights
green, yellow, red, repeat, and two black lines that mark

all that's left of yesterdays five car pile-up. Wreckage
of steel, and plastic, of lives. squeals of rubber lay. Sirens,
and hoses, and old men with yellow vests and large flashlights.

Out came the brooms and earnest men
in full gear swept and shoveled, in the wake of great flatbeds
and a chopper rotors hauling remains, earnest men swept,

and with warn grey coal shovels filled, reopened the interrupted trade
route. I watch the evening news, images of fire trucks and twisted metal.
as the helicopter mercy-flighting from the Wal-Mart parking lot

flies off towards rescue, the television flies off toward a loud man
who insists that the only way to celebrate our nation's birthday is to buy
a Toyota. Tonight I sit on a street corner, outside an a apartment complex

filled with excitement, filled with activity, with light sticks glowing
green and pink, on ankles and wrists of little kids
and their moms. I watch as two lights flash

green, yellow, red, repeat, underlining the fireworks from the park
across the street. The day should be celebrated, according to John Adams
with pomp, and illuminations. With games and bonfires from one end

of the continent to the other, from one end of Oak Orchard on the Lake
to the other. We would gather, on the shore of the Ontario we would gather
and raise the flag with 47 stars. A flag as old as the state of Oklahoma,

as old as the cottage. We gathered in shorts and 99 cent flip flops,
we honored old John's call for pomp with the words to God Bless
America in one hand, a cold Goebel's Beer in the other.

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