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when I was 10, we had to kill a squirrel on the softball field. i remember its mouth was distracting our pitcher and people kept talking about foam. i was fingering a pigtail when he darted across the diamond and i wondered if i should hop the fence. instead i stayed put, not moving an ankle, and we locked eyes for a minute. his face looked both repulsive and melancholy. i wondered if he could see me back. i wondered if he just wanted out and couldn’t find a way. i wondered if i’d ever looked that sad. just as i pointed to the gate, our coach stalked over and a glint of sunlight gave me a headache. the bat made a thud when it hit its back. before i could look, he’d flipped the body over the fence and into the afternoon brush. before i could look, the game was back on, and nobody remembered it happened. before i could look, we made a home run. the applause sounded like a eulogy.

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Abby Kloppenburg

Abby Kloppenburg

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