Fleeing the Fourth

Robert Gibb

Under the incoming clamorOf the fireworks,The proxy rockets' red glare,A mother skunk and her kits,Fleeing the bursts,Come storming downMy driveway single file—Eyes front, tails down,Stripes like the white linesOn the highway. For themEven such surrogate shellingSounds an alarm,As must the smellsOf starter fluid and meatBeing charred. In 1812,Boasted Francis Scott Key,No refuge could savethe hireling and slaveFrom the terror of flight,or the gloom of the grave.The skunks make straightFor the shelter of the trees.Behind them the skyBurns to the ground.

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print

Robert Gibb was born in Homestead, Pennsylvania. He earned a BA from Kutztown University, an MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a PhD from Lehigh University. He is the author of The Homestead Trilogy, a cycle of poems detailing the history and culture of a steel-working town. The trilogy consists of the poetry collections The Origins of Evening (1997), selected by Eavan Boland for the National Poetry Series; The Burning World (2004); and World over Water (2007).

The recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Gibb has also won a Pushcart Prize and grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

New Madrid_Summer 2018

Summer 2018

Murray, Kentucky

Murray State University

Ann Neelon


Published twice a year and released at the residencies in January and July, New Madrid is the national journal affiliated with Murray State's MFA program.

Our past issues feature the work of Sherman Alexie, Jericho Brown, Michael Gills, Holly Goddard Jones, Beth Lordan, William Trowbridge, Tim L. Williams, Joe Wilkins, and Avra Wing, as well as interviews with T.J. English and Catherine Taylor. New Madrid is also a showcase for emerging writers.

New Madrid's final issue was published in the summer of 2018.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.