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Clinton City Days

At 10:00 p.m I slipped outside
and walked down to the corner
to stare over the neighbor’s fence
at the fireworks display a mile away.

It’s been a few years since we’ve gone
and sat out on a blanket in the park
under the stars with our homemade
popcorn and half-frozen bottles of Coke,
surrounded by thousands of people
who all sang together during the
big finale when the city played
Neil Diamond’s Coming To America
then Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA
over the Park & Rec’s loudspeakers.
When for at least twenty minutes
the upstanding citizens of Clinton City
were united in their love for this
wayward country and each other.

I felt sad and alone
on that sidewalk
marveling at how different
the speed of light is
from the speed of sound.
The oddness of seeing
them glitter before I could
hear their mumbling thunder.

But I wasn’t alone.

“You can see them better from here,”
said my son, who had crept out behind me.
I moved next to him, and together
we stood and watched as pieces of our memories
lit up the sky then billowed back to us
from Clinton City Days past.

I couldn’t help but wonder as we stood there
wishing we were still part of the crowd
laying on blankets listening to synchronized
music and watching the smoke-filled sky
right under those beautiful sparkles
how and why we had become spectators
instead of participants.

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Picture Credits: www.lakecentralnews.com

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