The summer you were born, fireworks sputtered and crackled every night for weeks, briefly luminous. Roused from sleep by the weight of you, I heard them still, even as the sky blued. One hand to my belly to catch your kicks, I wondered who stayed awake lighting fuse after fuse—igniting Chrysanthemums and Catherine Wheels, ashes settling in the grass like spent confetti, beads of light growing dim against the dawn. When I finally held your body to mine, near that Fourth of July in a pandemic, I wondered how to tell you about this, the summer you were born: These months marked equally by fever and fear, a closeness heavy in the lungs, air sulfured—as well as all the joy I could bear in your brand-new eyes, two lights radiating everywhere, turning the weary world into the brightest place I’d ever dreamed.
Emily Patterson received her B.A. in English from Ohio Wesleyan University, where she was awarded the F.L. Hunt Prize and Marie Drennan Prize for Poetry, and her M.A. in Education from Ohio State University. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appears in Minerva Rising Press, Literary Mama, Sheila-Na-Gig, The Sunlight Press, Oyster River Pages, Thimble Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. Her chapbook So Much Tending Remains is forthcoming from Kelsay Books.