The Teens

Families gather in the small lakeside park
every evening. The parents and aunts and uncles
sit in folding chairs and talk. Someone grills
meats on a portable grill. Children play on the beach
and in the shallows. They squeal and scream
and laugh and shout and run around and dig
holes in the sand with toy shovels and their hands.

The children range in age from tiny
toddlers up to young teens. Missing are
the older teens. Sixteen, seventeen, eighteen,
nineteen, into their lower twenties, they don’t
come to the lakeside park to be with families.
They do other things, rites of power and sex
and death. A seventeen-year-old boy was
shot last night just after midnight,
his body laid out in the street,
covered with a sheet by police.

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