Fireworks and After

Glittering burning sparkler against fireworks background with copy space

We watched the colors break and spread
At what would be our passion’s peak,
Though there had only passed a week
Since June rain drove you to my bed.

A meteor rewound by night,
One outsized spark ascended first
Then, having reached its apex, burst
In shards of jade and malachite.

Next azurite and amethyst
Explosions flashed above our heads
And fell in phosphorescent shreds
Like nets to catch us as we kissed.

The grand finale came too fast—
Whose hand turned that kaleidoscope?
An artificial starfall, hope,
Ignites belief that splendors last.

The flames subsided. Smoke and cloud
Tore like the silk of a vast cocoon
To show a waning gibbous moon
That burned blood red before the crowd.

Dazzled by that accident
Of light and shadow, still I tried
To keep composure at your side
And not to wonder what it meant,

But stared, and saw the calm replace
That phantom’s blush with duller light
Until her dead familiar white
Glared back at us from vacant space.


Blake Campbell’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Painted Bride QuarterlyThe Dark HorseThe Worcester ReviewLambda Literary, and Fulcrum, among other print and online publications. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is the recipient of a 2020 Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation.