Summer Rituals


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Erin Kirsh is a writer and performer based in Vancouver, Canada. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in dozens of lit journals including The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, CV2 ... [+]

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Fireworks rupture the smoke
gold stars like sky-sealed approval
burst trickle down
green triangles flare then vanish
the city gathers along the shore
in mosquito-dotted night
the buzz orchestral, indifferent
purr of the ocean, surprised gasps
of children, their popsicle-sticky faces
made long with dropped jaws
they whoop and whimper
in stark contrast
with the college students: young,
cool, well-versed
in critical theory;
they trade paraphrased Foucault
and cigarettes, remark
on their elegant boredom
but they don't leave
grudging wonder wedged
behind their collarbones
and halfway up a construction crane
sweating in solitude, the cherry
of a joint hot between my teeth
I pull smoke close
a collective awe as a willow tree
descends the sky, makes its way
to the water as we have all made
our way to the water
I exhale toward the coast
remember there are reasons
to stay after all.

3

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