Eight by Maddie Slogoff

“How old are you?”

I nestle my head into my shoulder, meeting this inquiry timidly

Nodding, I release “eight”

My neck retracts into its shell

Wiggling teeth, teef

I manage “yeth” when mom asks if I want pancakes for breakfast

Tying my pearls to the door, I release them from the mother oyster

A gummy grin, sour patch smile

Color by number, inside the lines

They direct my ink

I’m determined to invent colors and stray from the channels

Yellow is blue is green is red

I roll down the hills that roll me

Sticky stains on my levis

Fun residue

Yelling monitors but I frolic alas

It’s at chalk I gawk, hands wiped on my stomach smock

Rolling in outlines, ephemeral memory in powder

Assorted cheetos residue lingering on fingertips

Cement dances

Tag. You’re it!

Legs are prosthetic, unfazed by their 80 hour work weeks

Bruises and boo-boos, blameless

Tears nothing more than a tropical rainfall

The jungle gym my own jungle

Hierarchy and social hunger

I harvest wood chips

Landing among them as I release myself from swing set hooks

Summers spent afar

Full of Adirondack chairs and Adirondack mountains

Fish-boned lakes

Tradition and fest, what they do best

Gaining inches in pencil marks on the wall

Eight is for expansion

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