Anthony DiPietro It is Beautiful that They Have to Disappear

Frederick Seidel, “Downtown”

This. This story. This is the story of

our first Fourth of July. The sky

a puff of gray with bloodless thunderbursts. We ride

bikes to marblehead, a symbol of your

hairless neck, and sit on a low stone wall,

symbol of your careless jeans. Or let me

say this: each individual stone foreshadows

your future infidelities. Your body

smaller than mine and cradled

by my legs and arms, yes, I’d undress

you here and now if you dared ask. But no.

This firework show, an image of pleasure

delayed. Behind us, boston skyline

signifies beauty we can

not afford. Sailboats, too, lie in wait. Far ahead

the city’s display glows red in smoke and fog

like distant sparks from a campfire. Lightning,

brief and tight, splits the night. I’ll call the bolts

white fractures. There’s no space

between us, touching at the lap, the lips. More ligtning

tears through gunpowder stars over

and over until it ends, and always

something else begins. In this case, rain.

No, rain is insufficient: a storm

of Old Testament wrath. Our bikes

are no match for this flood. Mud spatters

onto our backs, soaks our clothes:

a parable of passion and a sign.

Back at your house, we pull and tug

at sneakers, we toss everything together in the wash,

which sounds like overlapping sighs. We kiss

in the hallway, can’t decide where we’ll

make love—the shower, the bed?

Not wanting to wait for hot water,

not knowing the weight of one choice or another,

we don’t wait. Quickly,

five Julys pass by like pairs of headlights

on the marblehead causeway

and we are distant as two darknesses:

One before sparks. One after the burning.

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