The sunscreen glues to my skin
Caking my pores
The soft down of my arms laced with
Traces of thick white fondant.

I lay on the deck
Sunning myself like a lizard
On New Mexican granite
The heat reflects off the radiant surface
Further cooking skin
Like crackling bacon.

With no pool parties to attend
No watermelon to slice open
Juice running in rivulets
To culminate in sticky ponds
No laughing knitted community
To engage with jokes and company
I spend a solitary holiday
Contemplating what it means to
Be American.

I decide I like the pool parties
The barbecues, the cluster of
Closely woven friendships
The freedom to bare my skin
On my own back deck in
Salute to the sun.


The clap of explosives fills me with anxiety
Nameless visceral reverberating in my
Skeleton and gently pounding my fillings.

The coolers of beer, the hellos and how are yous
The warm sunshine reflecting off my deck
My gobby layer of zinc
With the promise of explosives to follow
This is American.


Happy Fourth of July, from your friendly neighborhood Cat Lady


Independent Reflections — 10 Comments

  1. I love how you wrote this from a solitary perspective. That’s a feeling I have on many holidays thanks to the media making us feel that if we aren’t celebrating with multitudes of close friends we’re missing out. The imagery, the emotion – all so vivid. Ooh…and…bacon! 😉 really well done Natalie! Happy 4th on the 5th!
    Linda Roy recently posted…100 Word Song: UncertaintyMy Profile

    • Thanks! You know, I always reflect more on holidays when I’m not surrounded by revelry. I think it’s important once in a while to embrace solitude and think about what you really stand for…

  2. I actually completely concur with your view of the 4th. I love people, I love celebrations, I love fireworks, but I also love the solitude of soaking it up with just a few close family members. I tend to avoid the huge bashes in favor of more intimate gatherings. But I can still hold my own in a huge party…until I start talking about my blog.

    Quit belittling your poetry (on your Facebook page). People don’t comment much on poetry, but it does make us contemplate. And yours is good, with great commentary.
    Chris plumb recently posted…Being a Single Parent? Don’t Sign Me Up.My Profile

    • It was certainly the strangest, most contemplative 4th I’ve ever passed…it’s good, we need those sometimes.
      The belittling of myself is a reflex, especially when I’m doing something still new to me. I’m working on it.

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