July 4TH

by Marc Jampole

And the three-year-old at the picnic
said she wanted to play the violin
and I said, just like Joe Venuti
and she said, you’re a Joe Venuti
and I said, you’re a Joe Venuti
and she pulled a tuft of grass and said,
here's some Joe Venuti
and she pointed to a sparrow scratching in the dust
and said, there’s a Joe Venuti
and from a plastic bag she dumped
a bunch of Joe Venutis
and barbecue flames caressed the grilling Joe Venutis
and men threw the Joe Venuti, popping their gloves,
while women slurped the Joe Venuti and spit the seeds
and the sun played hide and seek in dissipating Joe Venutis
and through poplar branches Joe Venuti shadows danced
across the baby’s sleeping smile.

Later, like Marcus Aurelius
observing models of human behavior,
we watched the ducks glide away
after the bread was gone.

Originally published in Oxford Magazine, Volume 5, # 2 (Spring-Summer 1989)
and Music from Words (Bellday Books, 2007);

nominated by Oxford Magazine for The Pushcart Prize.

Marc Jampole
5889 Aylesboro Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15217