Suzanne O'Connell | Poet


The kids, like the fireworks,

are ready to explode.

The old folks sit on hay bales applying

mosquito repellent.

The aerosol spray is oily

when rubbed on,

liquid citronella and cinnamon.


The names are too beautiful to burn:


Stone Roses

The Queen’s Crown

Nest of Spiders

Azure Fountain

Monkey Machine


Sparks, like escaped moths,

fly into the sycamore tree.

Red pebbles and blue stickers,

booms, pops, and the smell of punk.

Always one last sputter,

to leave the audience happy.


The kids are minotaurs,

half child, half adult.

They announce each beautiful name,

light it up and jump away.

Sometimes a flame remains

at the end,

a birthday candle that refuses

to be snuffed,

refuses to accept the added year.


Soon enough the kids will fly

like sparks,

to lives without us.

But tonight when I dream of them,

I am alight with happiness.

When I turn over in sleep,

my skin smells like

apple and citronella pie.



The Louisville Review, No 78, Fall 2015






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