I keep looking at these trees
From this window, I can see
Them inside the cemetery
Each evening and now
They stand between me and the sky
I imagine weeping willows in the south

They remind me of old photographs
Depicting southern pastures
Especially when the evening sun
Is orange and it splays through the leaves from
One tomb to another
Last night I smelled gunpowder

Rightfully so, rightfully so
I’ve just learned of another loss days ago
A female’s daughter
Decades after her loss of a brother
There’s something about this city
The cemetery, weeping willows, and gunpowder

Entombed last night
On the 4th of July
Through the trees
I could see
The fireworks, the city was smoky
The cemetery was dark–hovered a mist
Created between gunpowder and humanity

Rightfully so, rightfully so
The nation’s capital, it’s as though
The weeping willows have been there as long as those
Confederate sympathetic tombs
And trapped between the two
The mist of souls lost to gunpowder

Oh say can you see the ghost
Luminous on the road between the tombs?
The bombs bring to light
The gun powdered creed


  1. Brittani Forman on July 13, 2021 at 6:23 PM

    Dear PJ
    I love this poem. I read it multiple times to really get into it. Nice job on the use of nature. You have a true talent for poetry. Keep working.

  2. Arya on July 21, 2021 at 2:53 PM

    Thank you for writing this beautiful, multi-dimensional piece. This poem stood out to me because it elicit very specific emotions that felt nostalgic yet painful; and the connections and contrasts it makes with the fireworks, gunpowder, cemetery, and how it all relates to you in the moment are clever and well thought out. Amazing writing, I hope you continue to put out more!

  3. MB on August 4, 2021 at 11:41 AM

    Hi PJ, I really felt like I could feel being in the south with this poem, your words totally transported me. I lived there for many years and can just feel the humidity and light through the trees, just like you wrote. Keep writing!

  4. Katie on August 16, 2021 at 9:55 AM

    The imagery in your poem is absolutely beautiful. I can really imagine the cemetery and graves bathed in evening sun and covered in gunpowder. I also love your description of the weeping willows — it was an excellent poetic choice to write about them. I hope that you continue to write poetry and create these lovely images.

  5. Nate on August 16, 2021 at 9:59 AM

    This is a powerful poem – I especially like how describe the 4th of July. I hope you continue to write!

  6. Kate on August 19, 2021 at 10:25 AM

    I love the imagery in this poem. I felt as if I was transported to the deep south right along with you, smelling gunpowder in the air and seeing the willows twist in the breeze. I hope you continue writing because this poem is beautiful.

  7. Adriana on August 19, 2021 at 10:37 AM

    I really liked how you tied in tombs, the trees, and gunpowder throughout your poem to create an image in my head of the scene before you. The imagery was crystal clear and helped set the tone for the rest of the poem. I especially like the line the begins with “oh say can you see,” which was used to uncover more of the hidden darkness when it’s usually the beginning to the national anthem.

  8. Amma on August 19, 2021 at 10:46 AM

    Hi PJ. The imagery on this is amazing. The writing is so complex– it reminds me of something I’d read in an English class. It makes me want to spend a while analyzing it. The themes of loss, while also referring back to a dark time in our nation’s history, and simultaneously addressing how parts of our society are yet to change, it reminds us there’s a long way to go. Thank you for sharing this.

  9. Mona Villesvik on September 20, 2021 at 3:22 PM


    I loved this poem, especially how you connected our nation’s violent and racist past with our modern, still-standing systems of oppression. It is something that is especially important to reflect upon on days/holidays such as the 4th of July.


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