On the Fourth of July
the firemen sent fifty thousand bucks
in fireworks into a sky above Winnetka
so fog-bound we saw nothing but taxes
going up. The haze glowed red, yellow,
purple, the children Ooohed
and the rest of us, on every thud,
looked at each other like we'd walked
into a surprise quiz in U.S. History.

If I tried to tell you
how hot August was,
how it burned the edges off
most everything in its path,
it would be like trying to explain
how Aunt Gizena got lost
in the Philadelphia subway system
for nearly all of August 31st
until she surfaced for air
and terrorized the Black population
of South Philly with her cane.

Then, right after Labor Day,
it got so cool some nights
it was like treading water
in a spring-fed pond
with its cold pockets
moving around underneath,
catching you now and then
where you live, off-guard.

Already, now, the swamp maples
are lighting up and soon the rest
will turn to flame,
their colors marching
like a high-school band
up Paulk Hill toward Kotter's Farm.

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