by Alison Hurwitz

Almost every evening around  
the hour of 10 p.m. we hear them:
explosions puncture pinwheels all
across the surface of the city night,
the sound of everything pent up
that has had to be submerged,
pock pock pock pock BOOM!

They drive our rescue dog berserk,
and make him cower, barking out his
protest by the door. He trembles,
can’t translate from anything 
he understands, though his kind do
mark their territory, scenting every
bush and hydrant, naming it their own.

That urge resides inside us larger
mammals too: the need to fusillade
the air with exclamation points,
declaring “I am here, I matter,
and I add my energetic volley to the 
atmosphere, venting into air, exploding 
all anxiety around a sudden proclamation.

We swear, each time, and slam the windows 
shut, cuddling our incendiary dog
as he quivers, shaking with anxiety. 
Our human kind of cortisol increases
with the sound, but then, I also can
decode adrenally the urge to touch
frustration to the fire. I’d like igniting

my foreboding into flame, exploding it,
releasing sudden bursts of light.
I sit and ponder how we each
discover fireworks that let us 
air out grievances, allow us to 
expostulate, to detonate distress
into an aureole of sparkling stars.

I may exclaim, deride the pyrotechnic
outburst of my fellow human beings:
The hour! The dogs! PTSD Veterans!  
How can they be insensitive! But truthfully,
some part of me is outside in the night with them.  
In honesty, this poem is my pinwheel, spinning 
out a tail of trepidation with spellfire.

I light the fuse of meaning, detonating
all my adjectives in the heat house of
this stanza, waiting for the powder of
my poem to explode in dynamiting circles,
expanding metaphors in blinding light
across the darkness of our current time,
combusting entropy and turning it to flame. 

Alison Hurwitz holds a B.A. in English and Anthropology from Lawrence University.  She is a dancer, wedding and memorial officiant, and poet.  While Sheltering in Place for COVID-19, she has written one poem a day. Her poems have been featured in Volumes 1 and 2 of Poetry in the Time of CoronaVirus, and she was one of eight finalists for the grand prize offered on publication of the second volume. Her work will next be seen in the September 2020 edition of Words and Whispers. When not writing, she is grateful for time with her husband, two young sons, and rescue dog.  She lives in San Jose, CA. Bill Mazza is a visual artist using chance, duration, and accumulation to reinterpret landscape as a relationship of people to their mediated environments, through painting, performance, and community-building collaborations.

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