The Night the Elevator Burned Down

Taking a bath in our small bathroom
and the lights go out.
“Whole neighborhood’s gone dark” dad say’s.
And then we saw the glow from downtown.
A raging orange yellow glow.

I’m dressed and out the door.
“Get back here Butch” I hear from behind.
But I’m gone, running down the street.
I come around the Eagles Club and see.
The Elevator’s on fire.

That Elevator is at least 40 feet high.
Flames are shooting another 20 in the air.
Whole sheets of metal peeling off
and flying through the night sky.
The air is blurry with heat.

I’m two blocks away and it’s so hot
I almost go back. Almost.
The flames are furious with fuel.
Licking the sky like giant hungry tongues.
Then I remember the gas stations.

Three gas stations within a block
and the Holiday right next to it.
Water jets coming from below. I
cannot see because buildings close by
are in the way. Too close by.

Somehow, nothing else burns that night.
Nothing left of the elevator but
a black smoking lump. And the smell.
That whole side of town would be gone
if the gas stations went up. Lucky thing.

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