We sat on the curb

Tossing smooth brown pebbles

Through a nearby sewer grate,

Two six year olds,

Workbooks in hand,

Shaved heads shining in the sun

Waiting for our golden chariot

To take us to the land of learning

Where they somehow forgot

To teach us about forgiveness

Or about compassion or empathy

Or about the one subject

That could actually change our lives —

About love.

All of us, the girls and boys,

Were left to learn about these subjects

On our own

In the streets and back alleys

Where brightly-colored baubles

Easily caught our attention

And love remained hidden,

Untouched and unknown,

In the shadows and dark corners

Just beyond our grasp.

George Philip, who works in market research, has lived in the Princeton area for the past 30 years.

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