To The Harvest God

It took Father a week to build him, if you don't count the planning and the drawing and the laying in of supplies. Mother kept us out of the way with activities and stern looks and the odd reproach. Don't go out there, he'll only shoo you off; you remember last year.

This year's giant was a marked improvement: all wire and scrap wood and brown butcher's paper, nearly thirty feet tall, feet planted and arms outstretched as if defending against an onrushing enemy.

When Father lit him, the flames coursed up his body and leaped from his head like a flood escaping the earth for the sky. We ate while he burned. It took him half a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich to crumple into a nondescript heap of fiery remains.

"There. It's summer now, all official and everything," Father said with a nod and a twinkle. "Go on, now."

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