(Fourth of July)

The stoplights’ steady red to green replaced
with blinking amber, tonight’s sky empty

with ambient light, the road’s deserted
where today you couldn’t have counted

cars coursing along, coming together
and pulling apart like fallen leaves

squeezed between boulders in a storm-fed stream
the winter ice will soon be drinking up,

their rasped edges not like puzzle pieces
overlapping before they spiral away

and finally get caught up against the bank
where a kid might pick one up, let it

dry pressed in a book it’ll fall out of
years later, reminder of an easiness

he once believed real: beneath a maple
before it’s turned from green to red, tossing

seeds to watch them helicopter down
across a sky so blue it might break

his heart to remember on nights like this,
horizon smeared the color of fading coals.

Lora VahlsingLandscape (sharpie marker on paper)