Middle school. Gym Class. Outside. Field. Football. Picked last. As usual. Snubbed by quarterback. As usual. Playing for losing team. As usual. Gym teacher: Mr. Klip. He stops the game. Pulls a large EGG from his windbreaker’s pocket. Tells the class: “Go long.” We—the class—we’re confused. He Hail Marys the egg. I start running, hesitantly running (hesitancy runs in the family), not fast enough, not to reach the egg before it hits, before it SPLATS, the ground. (Not that it’s clear that it’s not hard-boiled.) Doesn’t matter. Why? Egg DOES NOT hit the ground. No. Instead: A great brown bird, it BURSTS from egg. Flies past goal posts. Lands on tree branch, a low-hanging tree branch. Everybody: aghast. “Everybody,” but Klip. (“Aghast” not at low-hanging tree branch, no. “Aghast” at bird burst egg, or egg burst bird, or what have you.) I walk to tree, look up at bird—adult hawk, mayhap. But maybe, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Staring. Klip, he’d given me a leather gauntlet. When? Dunno. Earlier, that’s when. Whenever, I have it now. Pull it on. Raise my arm. Hawk (or TMNS) leaves branch; lights on my gauntlet. We head back, across field, hawk perched on my gauntleted left. Nearby: kids: playing: on playground: they stop: playing. They stare. Hawk and I? We stare back. But: a yard, or two, or ten, before I reach Klip, and my classmates, hawk takes wing.* 

11 August 1997 

*[03/19/23: Meaning? None at all. Correction: meaning: neurons fire still. That’s it. That’s ALL it means. Anything else? Poppycock. But: Poppycock? Tasty. Tastier than Cracker Jack, mayhap. Can’t say I’ve done a blindfolded taste test. Can’t say I’ve indulged. Not in Poppycock, or in Cracker Jack, not once. No. Not in the past decade. Believe I’ve had Garrett’s, though. Few years back. Tastiest of them all, mayhap.] 

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