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NICKY


Vanna winks. You bob and rock
as the winner waves from his prize Dodge.
The VCR stops. You sigh, tug me,
sign "more, more." My fingers skim your hair.
Thick brown shocks hide where your small skull
is pinched, flattened. Head rolled back,
you whirl and bay, then dash past
the den of shrink-wrapped boxes of trucks,
wooden puzzles and blocks,
to slap at windowpanes.

You wriggle through the door,
bolt bow-legged in your braces,
and happily collapse in the grass,
droning. You run your gums
along the rim of the lawn tub,
shake its wooden legs.
With each bounce, teeth knock the edge,
thread drool.

Tracing light with splashes,
you shift from knee to muddy knee.
I squat behind you, pry open
your buckled right hand,
rub it with a soft brush.
Cocked, your jaw rests on the plastic rim
as you grin at me. Some slow cheek thuds.
Here, a rubber duck for your left hand,
but you sweep it across the lawn, knocking teeth again.
After a firm "no," my fingertips on your chin,
I stay mute, spin a rainbow waterwheel.

  Deborah Shore

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