on the avenue

They’re young and spilling over with winter’s pent up energy, shouting and bouncing and swiping at each other. One’s got his hood up, he looks tough. I’m at the corner with them, waiting to cross the street, giving a wide berth to their erratic motion. The hoodie turns to me and says, “It’s a beautiful day, right?”

“Sure is,” I tell him. His face is narrow, his eyes a little volatile. I shift back a little more.

He points up at the house-high pear tree in full white bloom across the street. “You see how the trees are coming back to life,” he says. “That’s God, baby. Ain’t no Mother Nature, that’s right.”

He punches his friend in the meat of his shoulder and they run into the street, racing to cross in the lull between the cars, long before the red light comes.

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