Home > Short Shorts > The 5th of July

The 5th of July

July 12, 2006

Here we are in the first shadow, arms elbow-deep in the tub of nighttime. The gray bodies of firecrackers, smoke-snakes, and sparklers litter the sidewalk. The smell of sulfur hangs on the leaves, and just visits the sides of my tongue.

Up above, impossibly high, three clouds, like red flags, flee to the east.

by Dale of Mole

Categories: Short Shorts
  1. July 14, 2006 at 8:06 am

    So perfect, comment seems gratuitous – like adding another stroke to a Zen painting. I hope you realised that, Dale.

  2. July 14, 2006 at 10:38 am

    (For some strange reason, I’ve been unable to leave this comment for a few days now. Typepad acting up.)

    This was the America I saw on arrival, fourteen years ago. I arrived
    on a 5th of July, to a sleeping New York City just after dawn,
    greeted only by quiet streets garnished with broken glass and the
    “gray bodies of firecrackers.” I had a feeling of having just
    missed something.

    It got better with the years, got less sleepy, but that feeling,
    that the Big Event is past, is one I haven’t ever been able to

    Evocative writing, Dale. Thank you.

  3. July 14, 2006 at 7:16 pm

    I loved this too, Dale. And I remember those smoke-snakes on the sidewalk from my childhood – also how they smelled.

  4. July 15, 2006 at 12:50 am

    I’m mesmerized by the numerous different mental images and tastes created in my mind by almost every word/phrase. Wonderful how just a few words can accomplish so much!

  5. MB
    July 15, 2006 at 11:46 am

    This is rich. You’ve managed in some way to work in every sense. I especially like that first sentence! I could stay there a while.

  6. July 15, 2006 at 1:50 pm

    The next morning, the wire bones of the sparklers littering the gutters….


  7. July 15, 2006 at 10:55 pm

    Vivid and fun.

  8. July 17, 2006 at 11:38 am

    I could have sworn I’d commented on this; the first line has stayed with me for days. But maybe I only meant to comment? In which case, I guess, I’m doing it now. :-)

  9. July 17, 2006 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks, everyone, very much.

  10. July 24, 2006 at 7:28 pm

    This is like a poem painting! She laughs. It’s so vivid, colour, smell, taste, the rising tub of night, red clouds like flags, firecrackers inbetween, I could see, feel, taste the unfolding scene. Synaesthesia. That’s what happens here. Beautifully wrought, too.

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