By the Light of Her Flaming Baton
Margaret Szumowski

She dips it in kerosene, throws it lit into the night.
She's forgotten sweep, flying eagle,

figure eight: her thumbs barely move fast enough
to keep propeller's flame spinning

red flowers in the Iowa sky.
She's forgotten how to twirl with fire

wearing a black tutu and white marching boots,
but she wants God to let her baton

fly up into the sky, see her brother bright,
constellation MICHAEL, over the grand piano,

sail through the sky—one big opera boat—-
diva's arias just for him,

and Puccini better not tremble.
And his sister, the constant majorette,

sends up flares
and fireworks from far below,

flatfooted, earthbound again,
as she watches him

parasail over Lake George.
Come back, Maestro, she calls.

flare circle