baseball bats and shoulder pads

There weren’t Legos as much as
baseball bats and shoulder pads.
We would hit plastic balls
in home runs and we would
tumble down hills with our
baseball bats and shoulder pads.

My brother threw for me
as our father threw for him,
but all I know is Father’s anger,
and he does not throw for me.

Brother showed me how to strap on my armor, and sometimes the bats would turn into swords. Then Father’s anger couldn’t hurt me anymore. Our skin was made of steel and our swords were made of diamond. If our father was the dragon, then we were the knights to the rescue. Clad with our baseball bats and shoulder pads.

But metal can rust. I saw my brother rusting, and then I became dust. What was left of us? Baseball bats became wood again. Shoulder pads weren’t armor anymore. What we once wielded was now our greatest fear. What we once used to fight was now used to shield us from the flames. We were surrendering.

Then, ‘we’ wasn’t ‘we’ anymore. It was my brother, and then I. As if I were an afterthought. The baseball bats rotted away. The plastic of the shoulder pads melted on me. I was burned in the end, but not by the dragon.

My meadows turned to ash, the flowers wilted. And there I stood in the wreckage. All that was left was a baseball bat, and some shoulder pads.

The dragon had failed to burn those. He rusted my brother, burned my flowers, and turned me to dust. But he left my armor, and my weapon. And though the dragon won before, and I shake when I hear him roar, my bones are made of steel. My heart burns inside my chest, while my frozen skin crackles. This is my battle cry. Because maybe I can’t fight fire with fire, but I can fight it with ice.

So I grabbed the baseball bat and put on the shoulder pads. Now it’s time to face my own dragon.

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