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Freeze


       I ask.

   When they turn around I take my giant steps.

The ones I asked for. My dad works on the city.
   Road crew.

       I don't know why I'm scared
when tires hit gravel
   but I know my blood tastes

like if I put a penny in my mouth. Eyes closed.
   I wait for scratches on my face.

       I love the awful way

   the word "whisker" pictures how

       a storm darks sky and does big
trees in the park. My dad's breath

smells like when the world goes away,
   like when I hide in the green

       fog behind "Old Abe," I put paper over the word
& rubbed it with my dirty thumb: Continental.

   My dad warms it up. That means he leaves

       it alone. I love the spooky way
running in the rain

   streaks my dusty face to where I look like my own
ghost, or something sneaky, an egg stealer,
   one that stays up all night.

       Before it begins, I can smell cold rain

   deep in my mom's hair where my fingers feel

the bumps start they start like when rain starts.
   In my bed, alone. I hear

       the house breathe. I love the only way
a summer wind blows night's long dress

       down our empty street. In thru my open
window, a shadow

       of a smile I can't see into crosses over my face


Ed Pavlić

Visiting Hours at the Color Line
Milkweed Editions


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