Howard Richard Debs
I am a poet, writer, photographer, sometime artist, musician, singer/songwriter. Born and bred in Chicago, I now live in sunny South Florida with my wife of 52 years Sheila, where we spend considerable time spoiling our four grandchildren. My full-length work Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) is forthcoming in latter 2017. Poets & Writers Directory author listing:https://www.pw.org/content/howard_debs
She was seven
came in the house
smelled the smoke
saw the flames coming
from the oven called
911 grabbed the cat got
out of the house
waited at the curb
while the fire fighters
saved the day.
She was nine when she
ordered her first Domino’s
pizza as a mystery consumer
afterwards reporting all the details to
her supervisor over the phone;
the crust wasn’t crisp, the delivery
guy wasn’t wearing his hat,
she got a free pizza for that.
She was sixteen when she
went to Florida Girls’ State,
she won a stiff competition,
pushing herself to the limit
to get that trip to Tallahassee.
She was eighteen when she
volunteered in that year’s
Presidential campaign working
with relentless passion for the
candidate she believed in;
She was nineteen
when her first love died
crashing into a tree while driving
alone on a dark highway in the middle of
nowhere. She found a road to take.
Medical social work would be
her calling. She pursued
graduate study, interned in a
hospital emergency room in Atlanta,
became a licensed
clinical social worker, tried
private practice, worked for the
Alzheimer’s Association, specialized
in adjustment to illness and grief
counseling; met the Chief at
county Fire Rescue who was searching
for someone like her, she got a
uniform and a badge and radio
dispatch calls in the middle of the night.
They went fully operational on
Saturday morning at 7 a.m. with
Irma bearing down on the state
as a Cat 4 hurricane. She left
her house, her husband, her
9-year-old twins, she left notes
for her children for each day
she expected to be away:
“Right now, I am just 7 miles from you
only 10 minutes from home.
I am probably in a big room
with lots of people who are talking,
on computers, on phones, and looking at
TV screens. We are watching over
you and everyone who lives in our county.
Pretty cool huh? There are lots of things
you can do to keep yourselves busy and
having fun. I left a lot in the pink bucket for you.
I love you both very much.”
Author’s note: The path one takes is not uncharted. First responders are unique. My younger daughter is one of them.
© 2017 Howard Richard Debs
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF