“July (From Humidity Diary)’

Click here to listen to Steven Cramer read this poem.

Hammer-strokes of unmediated rage—

two men face off; one is waving
his weeping wife & son into a van

half in, half out, of its parking space;
the other’s bike, wheels revolving,

lies upended on the sleek asphalt;
flanking him, two girls; everyone’s

okay. Sunday, dew-point record high,
a hate-group has a permit to collect,

first, outside the Unitarian church,
then to mass in protest on the Green,


where every Independence Day
middle-aged merchants & retirees

in breeches & three-pointed hats
shoot muskets & pretend to kill

or die. “You’re asking me to pay
for a scratch on your bumper? Look

at my daughters!” They’ve straggled
back to their banana seats & tasseled

handlebars. Their flushed cheeks
glisten in the heat. With her thumb,

one pumps her bike’s bell-trigger. It
clicks; doesn’t ring. Her sister twists

a braid. To Combat Hate; Ignore It—
our police chief opined in his Op Ed

“You’ll pay alright, or I’ll call the police!”
My son’s hand tightens in my hand.

“Did the van hit the bike or the bike
the van?” asks one of the assembled

“Somebody, please, be my witness.”