Rocket Summer (To Ray Bradbury)

by Bob Francis

One day it was Illinois winter.  Kids bundled up like deep-sea divers, waiting for the bus on the corner snow piled high.  Houses exhaled deep purple smoke from their chimneys like dragons resting still on the frozen February plains.

InPrintBlog_RocketSummerAfter lunch, there was a subtle change to the sunlight.  The actinic glare softened and people found themselves stopping at their windows to look outside.  The frost on the windows shrank away from the warm light.  Snow dropped from the roofs where it had lain for more than a month.  Some melted away from underneath.  Long rivulets rushed down driveways and collected in puddles in the street as blue as volcano lakes.

The children coming home from school actually dawdled on their way, pushing and laughing, their winter things wadded up in their backpacks.  Adults stood on their porches, squinting up towards the sun as if they’d never seen it before.  Some quick-thinking souls rolled hoses out of their garages to wash road salt off their cars and – in the distance – someone decided to go fly a kite.


Bob Francis is a writer.  He lives in Belvidere, IL.