in the projects

They are eleven or twelve, some age just before sex alters their ways, though it’s approaching by the narrowest of margins. They are boys and girls piling on top of each other on one of the benches lining the walkway. One boy is singing, forcing his voice to squeak and growl for emphasis. He’s striving for James Brown but not quite making it that far. You can see it in their faces, they are getting away with something, all this squirming in each other’s laps, the contours of their bodies pressing together. They’re laughing and pushing and restacking themselves. In a year’s time this grace will expire, they will avert their eyes and decline to speak. They will never recover this moment.

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