J. Es­tanis­lao Lopez

The Iowa Review - - CONTENTS - J. es­tanis­lao lopez

In­de­pen­dence Day in West Texas

My sis­ter dropped a sparkler into her san­dal. Smoke bil­lowed from her char­ring heel; be­low her body, light pooled against a desert night—

a co­in­ci­dence of beauty and suf­fer­ing, which I would learn is an old co­in­ci­dence. My mother started to smother the glow­ing lace,

first with her hands, then with a towel my brother fetched. The fire­works con­tin­ued. Horned lizards skit­tered be­neath the wood boards.

I sank be­hind our Dodge. As my sis­ter cried out to a sky I then be­lieved was lis­ten­ing, I buried my legs in gravel that, each few sec­onds, shifted hues.

Af­ter the fire­works, gun­fire re­sounded. It con­tin­ued through my sleep. I dreamt ex­plo­sions turn­ing milky, flood­ing the vi­o­let desert.

My sis­ter steeped in it, smil­ing. Our coun­try pledg­ing that for her wound­ed­ness she was loved.

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