Day in the Life: Poetry by Allyson Colburn

A normal day.
On duty.
The day has been silent,
No pleas for help.
Cleaning the station,
Washing the apparatus,
Checking,
And double checking our equipment.

In an instant,
The day is silent no more.
A resounding tone blares.
We are needed,
Someone is trapped.
A house is on fire.

My brothers and I,
So quickly throw ourselves
Into our gear.
We are on our trucks,
In a flash.
We are out the door,
Sirens screaming,
And lights flashing.
Just looking up,
There’s a plume of smoke.
And we,
Are headed straight towards it.

Before long,
We roll on scene.
On scene,
Of peoples’ lives,
Being changed.

Right away,
We grab our tools,
And turn towards the burning home.
A screaming mother,
And a consoling father,
Report their child trapped,
On the second floor.

Before their lives can be ruined for eternity,
We are throwing ladders,
Masking up,
And climbing in the window.
Sounding the floor,
I and my two brothers
Drop to the floor.
The smoke.
Oh, the smoke.
So thick,
We can go no higher,
Than a crawl.
Left hand on the wall,
Right hand with a death grip,
On our tools.

Sweeping the floor,
We make our way
Out of the room,
Down the hallway.

The parents said,
Last room on the left.
We three humble people,
All make it to the child’s door.
The door is forced open,
And there he is.
A sweet,
Innocent child.
So thankfully,
Untouched by the fire.
We call for a ladder,
And send the child out the window.
But alas,
This window is too small,
Fit only for a child.
We will have to go back,
The same way we came in.
That,
Is our egress.

Back to the door,
Where my brother is crouched and waiting.
The Chief is calling,
“Everyone out!”
“All crews, evac the building!”
And three,
Long,
Hollow,
And barely audible horn blasts ring out.
They are our sign,
To get out fast.

We make double time,
And crawl down the hallway.
I am in front,
Leading my brothers.
If danger comes,
I will be the first to know.

Halfway down the hall.
Almost there.
Almost back to safety,
Almost back,
To seeing my family again.

We’re making good time,
We’re the last crew to evacuate.
There’s the stairs.
Burning.
Burning like a pit of death.
Almost to the room,
To the window,
To safety.

In an instant,
I stop dead in my tracks.
Something is amiss.
Something is happening.
Something bad.

I call out to my brothers.
They are both okay,
But questioning why we’ve stopped.
There are yelling at me,
“Why are we stopped?!”
“We need to get out!”
I call back to them,
“Back up.”
“Back up!”
“Back down the hallway!”
“Something is wrong.”
I hear them scramble backwards,
And immediately know why
I have stopped.
It’s moving.
The floor is moving.
I am screaming,
Screaming at my brothers,
To get to safety.

Above me, fire.
I am trying to go back.
Back to safety.
Flashover.
There is a wall,
A wall of doom.
Right in front of me,
So quickly attacking me,
Straight from the stairwell.
Everything has changed,
So quickly.

I am turning back,
But I am falling.
My feet are in the mouth of the dragon,
Whose fire awaits me below.

My brothers I see,
Are scared and yelling.
Trying to get to me,
But alas,
There is no time.
I am falling,
Falling into the dragon’s mouth.

Farewell brothers,
Until another time.
They will mourn me,
But they are safe.
I saved them,
Even though I paid the price.

—Allyson Colburn, Grade 12.