Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Fire Escape

Escape the fire. That’s what it’s for, papa said.

The fire is in the sky, all day long. It slides below the buildings cross the street real early like, but it has fingers and pulls the line of houses down like a man looking out a blind and cooks us from out of sight. Our house is the sun’s bank, ma says, and he keeps his fire here all night long. Ma puts our head under the tap and keeps a pitcher on the table but the ice don’t last.

Tony got the hydrant open for a while ’til the bulls came. They point the nightstick at the end of his nose but they’re holding back a smile and you can see it. He says he won’t do it no more and waits for them to take the turn of the block and then gets the wrench again from his dad’s toolbox. The bulls take the long way back on the hot days and we all knows it.

The little ones cry  a little at first but then they’re gone for the duration into their night pictures. I like it best when they stop squirming and you can lie still and see the moon creep up the block like a burglar. He steals the heat and goes home again. I’ll sleep when I feel his cool blue hand on my face.

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