Explosions

By Debbie Caulfield

There were three, one of them, quite innocent, perpetrated by me.
We had one of those old valve TVs, big wooden box, small picture.
It had been kept alive for several years by John, the repair man.
He wore a string vest in a shop crammed full of crossed wires.
He cannibalized other sets, took out the valves that still glowed,
Completed circuits in between scratching his oxters and his backside.
He could no longer fix it with all his tinkering.
We put the TV in the shed to hibernate, dragged it out on a summer day.
I wanted to see what was behind the screen.
Hit it a whack with the hammer, I egged my brother.
Older and wiser, he cautiously tap, tap, tapped;
I poked him, hit it a good whack.
He told me to stand back with him, flung the hammer.
Full force it hit.
The screen exploded, landed at our feet.
No picture, all sound.
White faced and anxious our mother stood by the door.
All picture, no sound.
***
Another evening, walking out late with me;
the council offices exploded.
The hand that bound me to her,
tightened, pulled me closer, her voice;
hushed, I hope no one was in there.
People appearing out of houses;
they streamed towards the sheet of flames.
The night watchman had gone for his dinner;
he sat in the comfort of his home.
***
The council offices were rebuilt,
the old site turned into a bottle bank,
for glass melted clear as our kitchen window that heard
the blast, reflected the waves as it shimmered and rattled.
The glass remembered its liquid past, didn’t shatter, didn’t shard.
The police station has been resited, girded,
after that parcel, planted on the street,
splattered the men in the passing car.

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