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Youth in Jacksonville

by David L. Paxton

Walking along the currents, a small group
Of pink weed webs out flowery vines
Capturing diseased, rotted fish in clump
After clump from the fecal brown St. Johns.

Along its banks, children dip in their feet,
Fascinated by its pull and its stink;
They watch as the surface ripples their seat
Shaking from the train breaking its bridge-track.

No winter ever touched downtown, just chill
When the season turned proper. They felt ill
When their necks torqued captured by the neon.

The weed passed, and the fish passed, water stilled.
When the weak hours groped, they gave and shuddered
Under the good wind. We were strange children.