Howie Good

Kiss of the Blowtorch

The older kids showed us how
using a Bic lighter and a can of Right Guard.

With one hand hold the lit lighter far out
from you and with a finger of the other

press the little plastic nozzle on top of the can,
and when the spray hits the flame,

Hiroshima, a blowtorch of chemical fire
good for shriveling toads and caterpillars

or cremating the industry of ants.
The smell was awful,

like a stall in a public bathroom,
but we were young, and it was summer,

and there were many things to burn.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of five poetry chapbooks, including the e-book Police and Questions (Right Hand Pointing, 2008), available free .