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My annual rite of passage,

A three-month crucible, a gauntlet I must navigate

To earn another Fall.

A season of salt,

Sweat and tears flowing

As if the Atlantic were within me,

The sea water squeezed from my pores

Until it pours with abandon,

As if I absorbed too much of it

When I played in the surf as a kid

In that distant past when a father’s hands were open

And used to hold and hug instead of hurt.


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