i’m stooping scooping
ants out of their home
where grass meets path

The Good Humor ice cream stick
catapults them into the air
to drop and scurry crazily about

i dig with a vengeance
faster and deeper
to get to the bottom of things

It’s early Sunday morning hot July
No one is up or out
Too early for church goers

Dad’s up making his coffee.
i volunteer to get his Luckies and paper
from the store across the street

The stick breaks between two stones
i gently push the dirt into the crater
and brush away any visible ants

It’s a winter’s night in our 13th floor bedroom. Both windows are wide open. The room smells like urine. We shiver from the cold. One cot mattress is wet and leans against the wall, so it will dry quicker. Both sides have been eaten through by too many accidents. We sit on the other cot under the army blanket. My pajamas hiss on the radiator. He keeps his on. They aren’t so wet. If dad finds our beds wet, we’re going to get it.

The sky gets lighter. The wind rattles the door. We sit and whisper.

him        It’s getting light out.
me          Tell me. How should we do it?

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FRED NICHOLSON was born in Harlem, and was raised in a housing project on New York City's lower east side. After returning from Vietnam in 1968, he held a number of jobs in construction, commission sales, computer technology and as a taxi driver. In the mid 80's a mentor appeared in his life and said. "Fred, you are a writer. Sit down and write". From then 'til now, he has been doing so, on and off.

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