Left Behind

On the day of the K-Days parade, I was walking by our local fire hall on Norwood Boulevard, and out front sat an old Edmonton Fire Department fire truck. It was getting a tune-up before being driven in the parade. As I stood watching, the fire alarm went off, and all the firemen and the trucks took off—except of course, the old fire engine. After seeing that happen I wrote this poem.

Left Behind

The siren blared and you were off

Carrying your firemen into the unknown.

A false alarm

Maybe Mother left the oven on too long

The toaster shorted out and caught fire

Father fell asleep smoking and live ashes danced on the mattress

Back yard leaves burning, smouldered, then blew into the neighbour’s yard

Kitten up a tree.

Each time you left the station you never knew

Would it be something sad or serious

Or silly and benign?

Now you are a museum piece

Good for parades

or for going around Commonwealth Stadium when The Eskimos get a touchdown

Children get to sit in your driver’s seat and dream of being firefighters

You are shiny and clean now

Sparkling red

No longer streaked with the sweat and smoke of the life you were created for

Today’s sirens fade and only you are left behind.

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