On this, the last day of National Poetry Month, here’s a poem that appears in the spring/summer issue of Magnets and Ladders, which is produced by Behind Our Eyes, (BOE) an organization of writers with disabilities.
There are no trees, just an expanse of dirt
with steps leading down from the yard.
At the age of twelve, while Mother and Dad work,
I sit on the steps,
study seed packets of peas, corn, tomatoes.
With limited vision,
I read labels, gaze at pictures.
Five-year-old brother Andy is out riding his bike.
Sirens wail in the distance, come closer, are silenced.
“It sounds like fire engines,” says Dad.
After a while, the phone rings.
I hurry in the house to answer it.
A male voice asks for my mother.
I rush outside, call her to the phone.
“Hello,” she says.
“Oh my god! We’ll be right there.”
She slams down the receiver,
returns to the yard, me in tow.
“Ed, we need to pick up Andy at the police station.
He was playing with matches near that shack
at the bottom of the hill when it caught fire.”
I’m abandoned in the garden.
How many firefighters does it take to change the batteries in three smoke detectors? Five, at least that’s how many showed up when I called and requested assistance with this task, being visually impaired and vertically challenged. Here in the United States, it’s recommended that we change batteries every six months after moving our clocks forward or backward to conform with daylight savings time.
When the five firemen arrived in their big yellow truck, I welcomed them into my home. One or two of them said they remembered me from the last time I’d called them about this. After replacing batteries in my smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, they offered to do a home safety inspection, which I didn’t think was a bad idea.
They asked me if I use a barbecue grill and about my other cooking habits. I told them that I use the microwave, stove, and oven very carefully and that if I were to use a barbecue grill on a regular basis, they would get a lot more calls to this address.
After the five firemen scoured the house and detached garage, they came up with several recommendations, assuring me these were only suggestions and that they wouldn’t check up on me. I can’t help wondering, though, what would happen if I were to have a fire caused by a clogged outside dryer vent, one of the problems they found. Now that’s scary.
Note: the above is my entry for the 2019 Blogger Bash Blog Post Competition. This year’s theme is “five.” If you’re a blogger, there’s still time to enter. Click here for more information.