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.