July 4, 1995; or, The Monument Masons by Francis Daulerio

Our backs
against mid-century headstones,
we watched explosions
of color
from a Polish cemetery
on a small, American, tree-lined Tuesday.

When the blasts bounced
back into nothing,
we ran
with sparklers,
carving our names
in smoke
to drift and fade
with the others

chasing echoes
back up
into darkness.


Francis Daulerio is the author of two collections of poetry and art. His 2015 debut, If & When We Wake, chronicles the process of healing after loss. His forthcoming collection, a 50th anniversary reinterpretation of Richard Brautigan’s Please Plant This Book, will benefit The American Foundation for Suicide prevention.