by Sandy Dimiterchik

Before the parade starts,
the police on motorcycles dart
in circles, then move down the route,
revving their engines to get out
stragglers from the line.

The sirens sing.
I know then that it is time
to catch beads, trinkets,
all a person can get.

Then the floats end.
The people get in the street again,
go home with their winnings,
to cook, beginning
with all the food they left,
to eat all they can for the fete.

There are other times the sirens sing,
when people are hurt or a house afire, perhaps people retiring
from a long day,
a stove left on, an unwatched flame.

Sirens come, loud and shrill,
interrupting your meal,
coursing through traffic,
even when the driver is a maverick.
Saving a person’s life,
a house, or breaking up a fight.
Police, fire, or ambulance from afar,
as a motorcycle, a van, a truck, or even a car.

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