PATRIOTS' DAY, LEXINGTON, MASSACHUSETTS
The sun isnít up yet. I huddle with my dad in the crowd
as a clang erupts from the belfry, snuffing out all noise.
He lifts me onto his shoulders to see men in tricorn hats
and drab knee socks, rifles slung over their backs,
emerge from Buckman Tavern to form a jagged line.
The sky yellows. A snare drum hisses.
More men march down Mass. Ave. in starched,
cardinal uniforms, like toy soldiers. Damn rebels!
A single shot bursts. The sound of a million firecrackers
exploding vibrates through my chest. Men chase
each other. One falls, then another. Bluish smoke billows
over the lawn. All I see are grays and reds
colliding, separating, colliding. When the cloud rises,
the nutcracker men align in rows. Huzzah! Huzzah!
Huzzah! They fire at the sky, and exit toward Concord.
The audience boooos. Bonneted women spill
onto the field to kneel in circles, hoisting some of the fallen up,
leaving others. My dad points to the heaps.
Eight men killed, he says, but Iím already dreaming
of the cotton candy Iíll get at the parade later that day.
As we leave, the dead rise to the smell of pancakes
wafting from the window of Saint Brigidís Church.
fiction poetry "fact" photography