One boom, two boom, and by three booms they’re all underground hatch closed like they’ve practiced. All forty-two from Downy Street head-counted and head-downed in the darkness. Boom-boom-badoom. Spread out a blanket or wall-squat and the kids have broken out the floor games and the gas lamps are going and by the end of can-of-bean dinner everyone’s lost and won gin rummy once. Mister Hampton carved a little owl in the wall where he was crouched. Erold’s snock snock snoring makes the kids giggle for an hour. Someone’s crying who’s crying. How did a frog get in. Water dripping from where. A shower with a rag. Teach me to waltz, Onn whispers to Jul. Sure, she says. Like this step, here step, good step and then the walls shake boom step, crash step, bang step and the others want to try now swing step, side step, good step. It’s enough to make everyone sleep well that night and wake up on time for can-of-bean breakfast and even lift the hatch and peek outside. Just a peek. The houses are still there. Sun on grass. Mud and mud and mud. A quiet. Let’s go out, huh? Why not? Let’s see how fine everything really is— come out and hey it’s all here. Looks like the bombs dropped two streets over and there go the kids to check it out take Jonny with you! The animals are hungry as always. The streets are wider than they remember. Look at that, see how good it all is, how good they’ve always had it all along up here. Fishing and releasing. Bake a pie, an apple pie, or oh! a rhubarb pie. A single cloud rains a single rain incredible. Maybe the war has ended. Maybe Maria will marry Bartolomu. Maybe Horace is back in the town square spinning a pig on the spit and humming all the while like he does.
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