1997 Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award

Winner: “Incipient Fireworks” by Madeleine Mysko
Final Judge: Donald Justice

Incipient Fireworks

Nine p.m., July the fourth. The roof,
Broadway Garage, Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Our little crowd is pressed against the rail:
employees, lots of children, and enough
patients -- in wheelchairs, pushing I.V. poles --
that here, among the cars, our measures seem
extreme. A roof away, the trauma team
lights up the landing pad. A siren wails
thinly from some forsaken street below.
But we remain intent on waiting for
the dark to deepen, absolutely sure,
the weather being fair, that we will know --
any second, every one of us --
the thrill of the expected come to pass.


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