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I wasn't yet four years old when
the girl next door
closed the car door on my fingers.
As my father iced my red, swollen hand
her mother apologized,
the next day making her daughter
go say she was sorry.
After she mumbled an apology
and punched her in the face.
Melissa dared me to lick the street.
I pushed around gravel with my L.A. Gears
saying, "eww, that's gross,"
as her bare knees met the blacktop
and she pressed her tongue onto the pavement.
"It's not that bad, why don't you just do it?
Go home if you can't handle it."
So I shuffled my feet, hands stuffed in my pockets,
dribbling rocks on the way home
until they dropped into the gutter.
Standing in the hallway by homeroom
I felt a sting on the back of my neck,
hearing the penny clang when it hit linoleum.
I was chasing Tim down the hallway,
(I always wanted an excuse to kick him,)
when the principal grabbed my arm, had
Tim's fixed in the lock of his other hand.
"I won't write you up if you
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