Over there

Knock on our door.
We’re praying and it’s nighttime and we’re three women alone at home.
Neighbor tells us of “small fire” behind our house.
Where? Now we can smell the smoke
but can’t see the flames.

Ring up 911.
Emergency operator is very calm and it’s weird in the face of my panic.
They take our details:
address and phone number.
Will send the FD right over.

Sirens calling.
We’re so startled to realize those wails are for us.
Firefighters walk in,
peer around,
peek over the wall
with a camera.

A telephone book is smoking.
They are so calm I almost feel silly for having called them!
They spray water for about 5 minutes,
tell us it’s not a threat to our safety,
and then go to “clean up” the stuff.

Was it just kids playing in that alley-way back there?


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