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Explosives

By Laurel Digangi

Daddy flips open his cigarette lighter, transferring its neat blue flame to my sparkler’s tip. At first it burns calmly, like a church candle. Then it bursts into sparkles, sizzling and crackling like hot butter, spewing smoke and stars.

I’m Tinker Bell with her magic wand, painting the blue-black sky with circles and figure eights. My little brother Georgie cries because I have something he doesn’t. A falling star stings my leg, but Daddy says only the sparkler itself, not its sparkles, can hurt me.

On November 7, 1957, the Chicago Tribune reported that Acme Fireworks—yes, its real name—was fighting “a recently enacted ban on the sale and use of sparklers.” Acme lost its fight, and sparklers joined the long list of consumer fireworks banned in Illinois. The ban seemed a bit draconian. Even nice old ladies who despised the noise of real fireworks loved sparklers. My father, a…

About the Author

Laurel Digangi is a writer whose fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Atlanta Quarterly, Cottonwood, The Chicago Reader, and Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction, among others. Her short story, “My Father’s Hip,” published in Treasure House, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. “Explosives” is a standalone chapter from her childhood memoir-in-progress, Things We Couldn’t Live Without. Other chapters, “Salvation” and “Innocence,” have been published respectively in Ray’s Road Review and SLAB. DiGangi earned an MA in English from University of Illinois/Chicago.

 

 

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