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.