Dependence Day

It would be a quieter holiday, no fireworks

or loud parades, no speeches, no salutes to any flag,

a day of staying home instead of crowding away,

a day we celebrate nothing gained in war

but what we’re given—how the sun’s warmth

is democratic, touching everyone,

and the rain is democratic too,

how the strongest branches in the wind

give themselves as they resist, resist

and give themselves, how birds could have no freedom

without the planet’s weight to wing against,

how Earth itself could come to be

only when a whirling cloud of dust

pledged allegiance as a world

circling dependently around a star, and the star

blossomed into fire from the ash of other stars,

and once, at the dark zero of our time,

a blaze of revolutionary light

exploded out of nowhere, out of nothing,

because nothing needed the light,

as the brilliance of the light itself needs nothing.

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