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come to God.” He looked mournful. It looked natural, I thought. “Want to go set off those fireworks now?”

We stood in the driveway. The New England summer heat possessed us. Dad hunched atop unsteady legs, a homemade cigar sat loosely between his teeth. He unloaded the bundle of fireworks onto the bricks and retrieved a sparkler bearing a bubblegum-hued fuse. He handed it to me and held up a lighter. “Now don’t burn me,” he said. “Not too close.” The fuse lit and he pulled his hand back as from an ignited stove. He smiled, folding his fingers over the opposite palm. Smoke began to fill the driveway and I coughed. Dad tacked up a spinning firework to the telephone pole on the street. He summoned me to light it with the sparkler. It spun rapidly, emitting different

colored spears. A pink and white diamond, green sunbeams, and little blue stars twinkled then faded into empty space. Nothing was left but smoke and silence. I felt alone amid the remains and urged Dad to light another. We went through three spinners and six sparklers. Smoke swirled down the street, filling the driveway and rising up through the branches of a weathered beech. The leaves of the tall oaks along the sidewalk whispered in the uncanny stillness. “Very few people have been to the Moon,” he said as he looked off into the dim skies. “When we come back from the desert, Lily, you can say you’ve been to the Moon.” I tried to follow his gaze, tried to find the faint ivory Moon buried in the twilight sky. It seemed to flicker in and out of sight.

Crack the Spine - Issue 115  

Literary Magazine