I Let Her Think I’m Someone Else And We Continue Our Walk, Robert Joe Stout

Marilyn Higginson, Early Dawn, Oil on Wrapped Canvas, 24″ X 30″


I Let Her Think I’m Someone Else And We Continue Our Walk

 

Behind the gym I pause and rub
the chipped stone
windowsill. Her question, cadenced to the tempo
of the tennis game behind us, probes the sixteen-year-old
I cover with a smile

                              as I try to explain
the taunting voice
                             go-fuck-yourself!
                                                                   the bully striking first
and my hurt flailing,
                               threats,
curses, insults.
                        I ducked
and my fist connected

and through suddenly quieted nerves
I saw his head bang
the sill, watched him slide
down the building side
                                     that I touch
as I did each day for months,
drawing from the blood that dried there
a passage into this world

where grown men
equate luck with guts.

____________________
Robert Joe Stout

 

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