PoetryView – Fireworks

by Sam Pierstorff

We stuffed them in mailboxes,
lit the fuses and ran like hell
as white-haired men—
always in slippers and robes—
came running out of their homes
with broomsticks (or were they rifles?)
to swat the flames that crackled inside,
burning up all the bills.
They should thank us, we joked.

My favorites were the snakes—
those thick black dimes that burned
and grew into ashy worms that wiggled
and writhed as if the ground
were too hot for their bodies.
Everything seemed more alive
when it was set on fire.

Smoke bombs gave us cover
as we pretended to be ninjas.
Spinning flowers burned fiery rainbows
across blacktops as I bowled them
at my brother, hoping for a strike.
We celebrated our independence
by lighting things on fire—
and then lost it all
when our parents found out
what we were up to.

And no smoke bomb was big enough
to make us disappear when our father
came home and struck us like matchsticks
against the same box they came from.



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About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.