Volume 29, Number 1

The Way Things Change

At first we’d hold Roman candles in our hands
at arm’s length launching the colored fire-balls
into the sky. Watching them arc, feeling the sting 
of sparks on our wrists, cringing at the WHOOSH
as each ball of flame burst forth. Later we would 
launch the deadly bursts at one another in the vacant lot, 
dodging, jumping, and shrieking. Never a serious injury
just that one bottle-rocket exploded up Randy’s sleeve. 
Even that wasn’t serious. Some salve and it healed in a
few days. It put us off though from that and we were 
getting older anyway. These days it’s outlawed. 
Our kids can never know how it was. Now all the 
fireworks shows are professional, costing thousands 
of taxpayer dollars and us sitting in the stands 
or on the lawns. In their place we have drive-by 
shootings, suicide by cop, and road rage.

—Kenny A. Chaffin