Sunday, December 8, 2019

Not Even Not Zen 189: Fatty

Fatty

Hard hands on your soft stomach,
dirt and grease on your shirt
as I pummeled you in the elementary school hall,
not letting you catch a breath,
pistons-in until you were red in the face
and grasping at my fists,
clutching at your stomach
whining for air, for a chance to cry.

Everyone called you Fatty,
even girls teased you,
fifth grader of a hundred-fifty pounds.
But you sat on my brother until he screamed,
made him twist and cry,
wouldn't let him breathe.

The feel of my hands in your stomach,
it was like pushing into foam rubber
in a good, white shirt
and I knocked you to the floor
and jumped on you as you screamed,
snot coming from your nose,
tears from your piggy eyes,
a whine from your lips, a cough,
punched you until I felt
the floor through your huge stomach.

You cried there, face on the dirty tile,
flushed with rage and humiliation
because I had been one of your only friends
and even now I can't say I'm sorry.
You were bigger than my brother, bigger than me.
but failed as a bully and everyone called you Fatty.

Everyone called you Fatty,
even I called you that
and now I can't remember any other name.
I was supposed to be your friend
but I'd never thought about why
you sat on younger kids.
It was only fifth grade and I didn't think.
For that and for not remembering your name,
Fatty -- for those things, I'm sorry.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Not Even Not Zen 188: Imposter

Imposter

On a pool deck I wandered,
late at night, in a crowd with other swimmers.
We stood, laughing, splashing ourselves
with water that stank
faintly of sweat and chemicals.
I glanced past a red-haired friend
to watch sixty reflections in the glass.

In the black mirror of the shelter wall
it was hard to make out faces
and yet I knew us by our bodies,
our sometimes-awkward motions, strained postures,
and I was startled to see,
among the apollonian figures,
an intruder, a misfit.

"Who is that stump?" I thought,
"that goat, that dwarf,
that bulldog half the height of others,
torso twice as wide?"
I slapped my forhead, amused.
and the reflection slapped itself.