by Jesmyn Ward
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Back then I didn't realize how Michael noticed and didn't notice, how sometimes he saw me and then, whole days and weeks, he didn't. How in that moment, I didn't matter.
•I don't want him to read my slowness as fear, as weakness, as me not being old enough to look at death like a man should, so I grip and yank.
•I like to think I know what death is. I like to think it's something I could look at straight. When Pop tell me he need my help and I see that black knife slid into the belt of his pants, I follow Pop out the house, try to keep my back straight, my shoulders even as a hanger; that's how Pop walks. I try to look like this is normal and boring so Pop will think I've earned these thirteen years, so Pop will know I'm ready to pull what needs to be pulled, separate innards from muscle, organs from cavities. I want Pop to know I can get bloody. Today's my birthday.