Watching fireworks at Kings Island Amusement Park, I cover my ears

in a past life I was a dog
barking at the sounds
of car alarms blaring
past midnight, waking
me from sleep. I open
my eyes slowly, crawl
one paw leading the next
to a window, curtains
drawn back, I scream
half expecting my cries
to drown in the sounds
of sirens, or maybe

I am just a black boy on the back
of a burgundy QX4 watching
lights burn holes into the sky
their booms eating deep
into my chest and my hands
are over my ears as if to say
I can’t stand this noise anymore.

James O’Bannon