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Saturday, August 15, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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American Life in Poetry: In the Fourth of July Parade

By TED KOOSER U.S. POET LAUREATE, 2004-06

I was once on Deer Isle, Maine, on the Fourth of July, and attended their own town parade. Deer Isle isn’t big enough to mount a very long parade, so they ran it past us twice, first down to the water, and then back up. And we applauded as much with our second viewing as we did with the first. July Fourth parades are a wonderful institution. And here’s a parade for you, by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, who lives in southwest Colorado. Her newest book, Hush, has just been published by Middle Creek Press.

In the Fourth of July Parade

Right down the middle of main street

the woman with the long red braids

and fairy wings strapped to her back

rode a unicycle more than two times

taller than she was–rode it with balance

and grace, her arms stretched out,

as if swimming through gravity,

as if embracing space–her smile an invitation

to join in her bliss. How simple it is, really,

to make of ourselves a gate that swings open

to the joy that is. How simple, like tossing

candy in a parade, to share the key to the gate.

Poem copyright 2019 by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer, “In the Fourth of July Parade,” (2019). Poem reprinted by permission of the author. American Life in Poetry is made possible by the Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. We do not accept unsolicited submissions.

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