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I have no one to ask about it anymore,
but there is a corner in Springfield, Massachusetts
where I first saw the black stenciled capital letters
DANGER posted on a dark storefront window.
It was not fear that stalled me on that sidewalk, tugging
at my mother’s hand when I knew she would be cross
at me for interrupting her important grown-up talk.
It was fascination. DANGER. Through that door.

I wanted some. “What is it, Mummy?” I pleaded,
practicing non-violent non-cooperation
with all my thirty pounds. “It’s nothing for you
to worry about,” she snapped, “no place you need to go.”

But she was wrong. It will always be a place
I need to go. Quicksand. Unmaintained trail.
Do not enter when flooded. Closed for public safety.
Only DANGER. No explanation necessary,
I will find the reason. To this day I search
for what was waiting in the dark
beyond my very first DANGER.

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