Fireflies & Hand Grenades

By Jared Benjamin

I couldn’t assemble 

enough catharsis

from the depths

of burning dictionaries 

as I confess my disappointment


making bonfires

from the dead language

tattooed on ripped out pages

all I can do

is gaze up at the night sky


as it once again

plays me for a fool

like all of my buried ideals 

for the “American dream”

the children croon


to a blood orange moon

and pitch black solar eclipses

and their sorrow

morphs into a microcosm

of acid teardrops


trying to burn off

every cold sheet of ice

to resurrect

one more moment

of warm summer revelry


from unwrenching fire hydrants,

rejuvenation shoots out

from the quelling ecstasy

of rushing water

soaking our sweaty bodies


from nightfall manhunts

in quiet meadows

and capturing

swarms of fireflies

with air-hole mason jars


from mornings

of mud-sledding

and creekside exploration

bandstand concert gatherings

with friends and families


…yet the world collapses


under the weight of lost ships

the nation is devoured

by the ghosts 

of industrialists

and young Republican analysts


…yet the only part of this world that is growing

is the decay, bittersweet decay


I just wait at this intersection like the center pew

trying to turn this corner sidewalk

into my personal soapbox podium

peddling eulogies for the cemeteries

where all of our tomorrows are laid to rest


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