In Shanghai, A Guy

stood at the end of a long street
and aimed a massive set of fireworks—
I mean, the type of stuff big cities set off
in the U.S.—down the entire path
of the road. What I’m saying is
he was all set to set off the fireworks
horizontal, not aimed at sky, but with
a sort of engineer’s precision
where I could see him aiming so that
Catherine wheel and gerb (terms
I just looked up) would explode
at the peak of the road, at the far end—
if he adjusted everything perfectly—

so I waited with my foreign friend (an artist
from Seattle, WA, who hated Seattle, WA,
and loved how in Shanghai, according to him,
“anything was possible, even death”)
and when the man lit the tip of the wick
he could see that we were watching
and he watched us watch it ricochet
off of a car and bounce back into the road
where at the far end it exploded just as it hit
a skyscraper at the street’s far end, its windows
reflecting two explosions that made it seem
like the building was on fire. And then
it went out. And he lined up another.

Ron Riekki’s books include And Here: 100 Years of Upper Peninsula Writing, 1917-2017 (Michigan State University Press,) Here: Women Writing on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (2016 Independent Publisher Book Award,) The Way North: Collected Upper Peninsula New Works (2014 Michigan Notable Book,) and U.P.: a novel (Ghost Road Press). Books upcoming in 2019 include Posttraumatic: A Memoir—Essays & Flash Non-Fiction on the Military, Prison, Iggy Pop, The Devil, & Writing (Four Chambers Press/Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), The Many Lives of The Evil Dead: Essays on the Cult Film Franchise (McFarland, with Jeff Sartain,) and Undocumented: Great Lakes Poets Laureate on Social Justice (Michigan State University Press, with Andrea Scarpino.)

Photography by Kathleen Uttenweiler.