On a beach waiting to witness

A poem

On a beach waiting to witness
works of fire thundering forth for the Fourth of July,
sparklers burst against a cloudy sunset—
the flames of liberty burning out fast.

Darkness descends
and the main event announces itself
with flash-bangs against the firmament:
Declarations of incandescence,
self-evident in their light, loudness, and pursuit of happy viewers.

United they fall,
a coterie of combusted paper—
explosive evidence of
cheap dreams.

Yet after the rockets’ rainbow glare
burst in the air,
what was still there?

Susurrant waves. Crescent moon. Winking starlight.

O see, can you say:
The ancients abide o’er the land.

(Of the free?
We the people disagree.)