Sunday Poems 39: Explosions in the sky

On Friday night was our patriotic holiday. July first gets to be called Canada Day. I left my day job at 10PM and tried to walk from the north side of the river to the south. But the bridges were closed one by one as I arrived at them. “Fireworks overhead, can’t have anybody on the bridges,” shrugged a reflective vest with a hard hat on top. According to the sign next to him, it wasn’t to be closed for another ten minutes. I pointed at it. He shrugged again. After an hour of walking, I found a bridge that was open, way down the road. The fireworks were about to begin. I’d been walking through crowds walking the other way. Teenagers drunk on the sidewalk. A light rain started. The pedestrian path at the side of the Groat Road bridge over the river was full. People were sitting in folding chairs. Two teens in tattered clothing with their legs dangling over the side were rolling a joint beside a young family. The government interfering with free movement through the city to put on a bombastic (at an estimated expense of $200,000) show of the colours of the flag seems like such an obvious metaphor that I feel silly pointing it out.

I met up with my stepmother and my four year old brother. He didn’t know what fireworks were. We stood in a field, him propped on my hip, and we watched red stars exploding in the sky. It was loud and he seemed shell-shocked. When they finished, I asked him if he enjoyed them. He nodded his head and kept staring towards where the last explosion had been. To him, it’s still an unexplained phenomenon for the time being.

Sundays are a good day to wake up in a tent on the balcony of your apartment. It’s early in the morning. Things are damp. It rained lightly for most of the night. You roll out of bed (a blanket folded over itself as a sleeping cushion) and out into the calm air. The tomato plant has even more little green tomatoes than it had on it yesterday, despite having almost no foliage that’s not yellowing to death. Perhaps you could be a little bit more like that tomato plant. Does it consider itself happy? Below is a poem. If you think a friend might enjoy it, consider sharing it with them. As always, I’m here if you need to talk. Have a great week, everyone.


this method leads to more space being
filled. your parents driving you home and
you’re eighteen and you hear on the radio
about something horrible and it’s difficult
to stop thinking about it. you go home and
you clean your room. dinner was nice.
something’s stuck to your desk, and you
scrub on it, but the cloth disintegrates.
there is a spider clinging to your wall. it
moves very slowly and clearly feels
indifferent towards you. you squeeze the
tennis ball that’s at the corner of your desk.
for a moment, it occurs to you that you could
use the tennis ball to scrub the sticky patch.
you release the thought.

Originally published July 3, 2016.

Theodore Fox is a poet living on Treaty Six land in Canada.
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