The night before the Fourth of July

when I am tossing the neon pink tennis ball the dog found under the porch, the man in the next yard hammers in staccato flurries and out in the state forest behind the house, a pileated woodpecker thrums an oak, little knowing the combined rhythms are just right for the other neighbor—the old lady in the black dress who carves goat heads out of pine—to close her eyes and begin the chant that tomorrow will guide aliens here, their ships a luminescent string of pop-it beads invisible in a sky busy with fireworks, populated with ghosts of stars.

Susan Roney-O’Brien lives in Princeton, MA, has published two chapbooks and a full-length poetry collection. Nominated for five Pushcart Prizes, she is the quintessential bridesmaid when it comes to awards.


Photo Credit: Anne Davis

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