A Hero

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He watched with closed eyes,
And fear,
As the forest he had played in
Just the day before—
The trees he had climbed
With his quick young feet,
The piles of leaves he had
Made with his small,
Soft unbroken hands—
Scorched bright orange and red.

The dead leaves quickly changed
From brown,
To red,
To black—
Death had already come
To the late fall leaves,
But now death came again.

Dad was a fire fighter,
He would come home standing tall
After long days of work:
With black soot creased into his face,
White ashes on his shoulders,
His hair emanating the smell of smoke—
But with a smile on his face,
And open arms.
Tom would run to him,
And embrace him with awe and laughter.
His father would brush his hair,
With rough veteran hands,
And say to him:
“That’s my boy,”
A big smile on his face.
“Just like your old man.”

But his father had said that there was
nothing he could do.
He said that forest fires became
Too out of control
Too quickly—
It was
Too dangerous.

But here Tom was,
His small blue beach bucket in hand,
Staring at the violent vivid flames
With awe and a throbbing heart.
His eyes watering burned from the
Immense amount of smoke
And his lungs ached;
His coughs were nervous
And his body shook;
The hairs on his arms stood up
And felt as if they were burning
From the chilling heat
Of being afraid.

Dieing leaves flew to the ground
With awkward choreography
And gently smoldered
Beneath the blazing sky.
Tom lifted his blue bucket—
Thinking of the veteran’s hands
Proudly patting the back of his head—
And threw the water.





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