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By Elizabeth Acevedo

it was always the older kids
running to Riverside,
hiding behind trees and underneath

jungle gyms, holding their breath
in the darkness as the other team
tried to find them.

I could not wait to be old enough;
a captor’s arms clasping.
Manhunt, manhunt 1, 2, 3.

This poem asks me to turn
the compass in a different direction:
perhaps commentary on police

or the assaults
that happen in the dark
when children play games

while adults sip beers and
summer unrolls a carpet
into the worst of memories.

But no. Sometimes
being honest means offering
more than one draft.

The game was
a different kind of winning:
the chase about the waiting,

wanting to hear a
countdown softly whispered
as the July air

stuck our baby hairs
to our necks, and everything
was playful in the damp.

Source: Poetry (March 2021)

  • Living
  • Relationships

Poet Bio

Elizabeth Acevedo
Elizabeth Acevedo is the New York Times bestselling author of Clap When You Land (2020), With the Fire on High (2019), and The Poet X (2018), all from HarperCollins. See More By This Poet

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