Janet Drive (a prose poem)

Out of the driveway, you start out going north, towards the open top of this dead-end street. You cruise past all the houses of friends and neighbors—the old couple who never had kids, the boys who skateboard and tell dirty jokes, the man on his lawnmower who always stops to call the boys “girls” and the girls “boys” as if it’s funny. Keep moving. This road is only fit for bicycles of unattended elementary school kids, like you, whose parents believe in the inherent safety of suburban life and its streetlights. People only come down this dead-end street for three reasons because they or someone they know lives here, to turn around, or to sell ice cream. There is no reason to be afraid of strangers—just don’t talk to them, your parents will tell you. The pavement her is marred and there broken. It has been this way for years, only ending at the front of the street where you turn off onto the bigger highway. But you can’t turn off. You can only turn around and take your bicycle down to the other end of the street—and maybe back again—because you are only 10 years old, and everything beyond this street is not safe.

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