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Nicks and Grooves This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

When I was small
and the sun would shine upon my braids
I would kneel on hot pavement
with the slap, slap, slap of flip flops on the ground
and the smell of baking sidewalk in my nose
cornering ants
between my thumb and fingers
and they would scurry and scuttle
about my wrists
refusing to be caught
but I would always be careful,
and no matter how frustrated I became
I would never squash their tiny bodies
and if I was very lucky
I would clasp my hands together
at the exact right time
so that my soft pink palms would tickle
at the legs of the trapped, frantic bug
but then,
it would always slip between the tiny fingers
of my clutching hands
and find refuge again
between the silent cracks of the cement
once more
and I was left to grope at nicks and grooves
the wind hinting so temptingly
of blooming peonies
the blazing sun once more fire on my braids





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