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Battleground Avenue

                                    Nina Riggs

The light by Target has finally turned, but still
I wait. A family has stepped out of the night
to cross the seven lanes of traffic: mother,
stroller, skinny boy who holds a toddler’s hand.
The mother bows her head, not looking up.
The little one trips in sandals twice her size.
They move like a wounded crab, shuffling ahead.
The intersection glows with the crowd
of headlights. Impatient engines rev in all directions,
but no one honks. Instead we watch from inside
our dark cars, which seem to form a pocket
of agreement, a cease fire accepted only because
it will not last. We know they cannot hurry—
just as we know they could not stop before—

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