When I was growing up, summer meant weekends at my Aunt Lucy and Uncle Bill’s home in Rockford, Michigan. It meant hours in their pool, learning how to do a back dive, and it meant my cousin Tara and I had ample time to perfect our synchronized swim routines (we had a fantastic routine set to Paula Abdul’s “Opposites Attract”). Summer meant an extra hour of daylight and being able to stay out later. (Michigan is on Eastern Standard Time, unlike Chicago, which is Central Standard Time, a point my brother Geoff and I made repeatedly in the car ride as the Chicago skyline disappeared and we made our way north.)
And summers meant sparklers.
I have vivid memories of dancing with fire just before bed. We probably went through a box in five minutes, and maybe that was part of the fun. After all, a spark doesn’t last; its impression — the color, the singe, the crackle — does.
I signed my name in the air when my sparkler was lit. I did one-handed cartwheels. I ran through my aunt and uncle’s expansive backyard barefooted and laughing, little beads of orange chasing me.
For this week’s prompt, sparklers are our muse, and sensory poems are the form. I like to divide a piece of paper into fifths and label each section with one of the senses: sight, smell, touch, sound, taste. I fill up each box with words or phrases, memories, and perhaps even drawings that make me think of sparklers. Then, I pull from, curate, and add words to make a poem.
Now it’s your turn!
Thanks to everyone who participated in our recent poetry prompt. Here’s a poem from Marilyn that we enjoyed.
The rockets, climbing up up up
My boys, scurrying down the hill
and nestling into my waiting arms
The fire, blooming then wilting in a blink
My heart, popping against its bony cage,
willing this moment to stay
The last sparkles, raining down
a smoky cloud
A sigh, sending bated breath up to the sky
How many more fourth of Julys?
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