HEROIC

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HEROIC

“I need to show you something.”

His father started in to the kitchen
and the screen door slapped hard
and before he could think to wonder what
the man was back with him in the yard,
thin red fire extinguisher in hand.

“See, you pull out the pin
and squeeze this and then–”

The can kicked
and spurted an illustration,
a plume of powder in the June air.

“Here.”

And suddenly the sleek metal
was heavy and cool against his eager fingers,
his mind burning little wildfires of protest
but also a desire to please
and please let me pass this test.

He steeled himself for the release
and tightened his hold,
so caught up in questions
and a boy’s quest to be bold
that he neglected to aim the nozzle
some place other than
his mother’s garden.

“Sam!”

The screen door slammed a second time
and she was at his side,
open-mouthed, stern
and squinty-eyed
in her survey of the damage:
the layer of ash on asters, dust covering the cosmos.

All three stood there staring
until the boy broke into a run
and got the green hose
and again sprayed into the sun,
the stream pushing away the gray layer
and popping off a flower head or two —
a small price to pay
for saving the day.

©2015 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

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