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  • The sidewalk that runs near our house is broken. A large chunk rises above the concrete stream and when the boys pass, they lift and heave and tumble the slab into the river rock and search the wound for the small garter snakes that crawl out from the nearby retaining wall to hunt spiders in warm dirt. And when the boys find a snake, they hold it, because they can. And they parade with the snake wrapped around their wrists admiring the grip of tiny coils, and they show their friends and the cats and admire the color of snake scales. And then they release the snake and watch it flee into the weeds.

    And then a mom with a stroller or an older man with his dog walks near the swamp and the sidewalk is broken, and the man or the mom picks up the concrete block and, matching ragged edge to ragged edge, places it just so like they've completed a puzzle, and they continue their walk, having restored order, and then the boys return, and they heave the slab to the side and the edges chip and crumble and concrete dust blows onto the manicured lawns or the downhill swamp, and then the stroller mom or a runner, and this continues for days and weeks and months, such a persistent battle, until the days become cold and the snakes burrow for the season.

    And so we move through time, seeking snakes.
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