A Flock of Birds at the Skate Park

A distinct male voice. He’s a teenager but to the youngsters in the skate park, he’s a father. They’re his little birds. One is called Raz. They rely on him to fly.

The monotonous runs of wheels on hollow metal; bars and ramps. The self deprecation and the language. The tough love loyalty.

He tells one bird, ‘He can’t bullshit no more’ and another with fledgling wings, ‘You’re one of the best skaters around.’

His name is Tom and I imagine he smiles after he laughs and has glassy eyes.

The little birds are prepubescent and swallow the invincibility their mothers feed them.

*

Listen.

Helmet. Wear your helmet.

Look where you are landing.

Don’t hop into it.

And as he is teaching, others arrive. They’ve left their mothers in the nest and he knows each one by name.

They’ll spend hours here.

Flapping wings and egos.

Losing feather down and learning how to fly.

Until light turns to night and hot TV dinners call and Tom is left grinning with seventeen year teeth, with tired eyes, at the moon in the sky.

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