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  • Your mother gave you instruction to feed the hounds when you returned home from school, but instead, you ate cupcakes with blue frosting at Jacqueline’s and chased the trailing ribbons of a kite through her backyard.
    The kite raced up toward the sky like all the spring buds wished they could do but could not, and championed the square limits of Jacqueline’s backyard’s heavens.
    Your heels twirled underneath you and bore shallow graves in the dirt as you synced your movement to that of the stouthearted diamond spirit overhead.
    You were unbeatable for as long as you could feel the haul of the kite’s line, which wavered in your grip.
    The kite had focused all of its attention on you; it had made you the prima ballerina of the day’s crisp blue dance and you knew it was because you possessed a delicate frame similar to the one in the sky, and danced with vigilance, unlike Jacqueline, who frisked about with intentions of forgetting.
    Dizzy heights have interrupted your pivots and you have stopped now to collect your bearings, realign the blocks in your head.
    Hours snuck passed, and the sun sank down low without your ever noticing. Soon Jacqueline’s mother would call her in for dinner, and send you on your way. The kite dismantled from its place in the sky and the dance forever put on hold.
    And the hounds, waiting for you at the gate hunger-crazed, frothing at the mouth with eyes like slot machines.
    You agree with Jacqueline that twilight came too soon, and you exchange in hugs goodbye.
    On your walk home, you pick up a stick and drag it gently against the fences that hug the path. First the white one, then the red one, then the silvery-gray.
    It’s roller derby night and your mom will roll like thunder. She is the devil’s supercharged paramour. She will go to Hallmarks next-door for drinks after she skates. And awful crooked men will buy those drinks for her.
    You hear the hounds from the path. They are barking their heads off. They are psychopaths, stalking your shadow through the slits in the fence. When you enter the house, you go to the fridge and find the chicken livers packaged all nice and neat.
    The hounds are standing at the backdoor, mugs pressed up against the glass. You wonder what would happen if you didn’t feed them.
    The livers pulsate in their packaging. When you tear it open they are lumped together and bursting with blood. You open the glass slider and throw them into the night. The wad explodes in the air and you watch as the hounds dance on their hind legs to catch the ruby chunks. The livers are devoured before the hounds touch down on all fours. Their eyes hit the ground in search of scraps, but there are none. Satisfied then, they slink off into the night’s shade. You watch them, old and slow, hips like jagged rock that rise and fall, settle into a patch of poison hemlock.
    Moss is growing on the roof of the shed. It is green and brown and gold, like the colors you have seen in pictures of the earth from far, far away. You climb atop the shed, avoiding the holes that need patching, and sit Indian style.
    There they are, the seven sisters, spying you from above. Whispering secrets that won’t reach you until you’re of age.
    But you can’t wait that long. There is no room in your heart left for waiting. You want a kite of your own that catches the wind just like Jacqueline’s. Only you want one that is grander in color and size, and catches the wind, and leaves you swirling and twirling below.
    And the hounds will bark their heads off, like they always do. They’ll be hungry for something more when they watch you through the fence. And your mother too, while she stands in the dirt lot outside Hallmark’s waiting for a car door to be unlocked. She will be hungry for something more.
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