Fourth of July

By John Brehm b. 1955 John Brehm
Freedom is a rocket,
isn’t it, bursting
orgasmically over
parkloads of hot
dog devouring
human beings
or into the cities
of our enemies
without whom we
would surely
kill ourselves
though they are
ourselves and
America I see now
is the soldier
who said I saw
something
burning on my
chest and tried
to brush it off with
my right hand
but my arm
wasn’t there—
America is no
other than this
moment, the
burning ribcage,
the hand gone
that might have
put it out, the skies
afire with our history.

John Brehm, “Fourth of July” from Help Is on the Way. Copyright © 2012 by John Brehm. Reprinted by permission of The University of Wisconsin Press.

Source: Help Is on the Way (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012)

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Poet John Brehm b. 1955

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Social Commentaries, History & Politics

Holidays Independence Day

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 John  Brehm

Biography

John Brehm was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, and educated at the University of Nebraska and Cornell University. He is the author of Sea of Faith, which won the 2004 Brittingham Prize, and Help Is on the Way (2012), winner of the Four Lakes Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. In the Georgia Review, Judith Kitchen praised Sea of Faith for its “unified consistency of tone and sophistication of approach,” remarking that the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, History & Politics

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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