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00:00 / 01:22

I am standing by the pop machine
at the gas station, drinking a root beer.
It cost a dime, my whole allowance.
My bike—a J.C. Higgins three-speed—
looks cool. I just washed it
and waxed the blue fenders. 
Grown-ups are moving around me
in kind of a fog. Actually I feel sorry
for grown-ups, with their neckties,
their dark jackets and serious talk.
I am wearing low-top Keds. 
Their shoes are hard and gigantic. 
Try climbing a tree in those shoes.
How am I supposed to know
that an old, white-haired guy,
a grown-up, is watching me
from his desk in the future,
writing down every move I make.
Why would somebody even do that?
If there’s one thing I don’t like
it's writing. Writing and division. 
This root beer is actually excellent.
It's a hot day. My fenders are waxed.

—from the Rattle Chapbook Prize winner, Cheap Motels of My Youth


“In his poem, ‘My Heart Leaps Up,’ Wordsworth says, ‘The child is father of the man.’ So I guess this poem is about my father.”

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