As children, we learn
to bruise a feeling someone
was stupid enough to leave
unguarded, to threaten
the timid and gang up
on the weak — important training
for employment, marriage
and parenthood. But if you
are the small pummeled one,
you have no tutor but yourself
to teach you to pretend not
to see smirks, hear japes,
feel blows; to walk away from fights
as if on principle; to become a lie.
You learn — as the strong don’t have to —
that the world, wild or civilized,
is still a game of predator and prey.
I don’t know about this one. It surprised me in the writing, but that’s not always good.
Of course, I’m never sure about anything I write. I have a superstitious fear of hubris.