I’d get the ladder, my dad said.
Take it out of the garage,
pull it past the garbage cans, through the gate,
lean it against the front of the house, by the roses.
Pack a picnic, fill the cooler with beer,
you kids could drink as many as you like.
Maybe some Champaign. Like on New Year’s, he said.
We asked about the dogs.
Only if the one doesn’t bark the whole damn time,
he grinned. That’d be the last thing we need.
What about the goldfish?
He wasn’t so sure about them, or the hermit crabs.
Climb that ladder with the beer
and the dogs, a radio.
We’d spread a blanket out on the roof,
wait for the biggest fucking fireworks show in history,
he said. The final fireworks show ever.
We really wouldn’t want to survive it anyway.
Just an asinine game of chicken, he shrugged.
Asinine, like fall-out shelters
or just washing off the vegetables before you eat them.
Fire and fury, rhetoric of dictators.
I keep my ladder ready.
Karen Shepherd lives with her husband and two teenagers in the Pacific Northwest where she enjoys walking in forests and listening to the rain. Her poetry and flash fiction have been published in various journals including riverbabble, CircleShow, The Literary Nest and Halfway Down the Stairs (full publication list on request). She is just learning how to tweet at