Between the Sparks

Between the Sparks

By JD Miller

When I hear people talk about

“Names Written In Lights,” all I picture 

Are hot, Fourth of July Nights—

Sugar coursing through sun-burned bodies, 

Fireflies flaring and colors bursting in the sky, 

And the snarling, sulphur glow 

Of sparklers burning down to thumbs. 

And wide-eyed me leaves a trail of smoke, 

A gunpowder ghost, spelling out my name 

In streaks of fading gold, 

Swallowed by setting sun but sealed 

Across the back of my eyelids. 

Did I have nothing else to say, I wonder? 

“This is what my parents named me!” 

Burning, snarling letters, now turned pink. 

Did I already know that in the face 

Of that expansive night

I had nothing else to say, and no time—

The fuse already lit, the phosphorus aglow—

No choice but to yell, 

“This Is Who I Am!” 

Into the night, then close my eyes: 

Breathe in ecstatic smells, the cricket song, 

And wait—for the imprint

On the sky to fade away. 

And there I am. Bugbitten. 

Unfreezing the night, and laughing

With my friends, who are writing 

Their names too, like eighth-grade 

Vandals on the sky, barefoot and running 

In between the sparks.