new Mennonite Life logo    December 2001     vol. 56 no. 4     Back to Table of Contents

Christopher M. Dick

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At the Fireworks Stand, July 4, 9:00 P.M.

Wild eyes scour the picked-over tables
As the glow from incandescent beacons
Blends with the neon buzz of bug zappers
Drawing insects in
Out of the dull, oppressive heat of a Kansas summer.

Pickups unload the shell-shocked revelers
Led by some invisible force to stumble
Forward, grope for one last thrill.
Desperate, their initial arsenal depleted,
They scramble, frantic, at any cost, for one last celebration
Of freedom.

Kansas: Fall in Wartime

Blackbirds rise in unison over harvested fields,
Turn together, dive downward, and settle again.

Ground is covered by newly sown winter wheat
Struggling to emerge from dry land.

Wind blows through skeleton branches of half-naked trees.
Prairie grass. Milo stalks. Bare earth.
There are possibly more shades of brown here than anywhere.

Kansas autumn demands subtle loyalties,
Flying its colors in unassuming ways.