Today's poem is by Jehanne Dubrow


The children are playing at murder again.
Look, how they strangle the pole with the rope
of the tetherball, how they kick away
from the dirt trying to outswing each other,
how they launch themselves like stones
from a slingshot. On the playground,

there is no break from the business of pain.
A boy (white rabbit who mopes
in the corner) has been put on display.
He's a wild, caught thing, smothered,
his face pressed in the grass until he groans.
They will not stop unless he makes the sound

of dying, mud in the lungs, and even then
it's hard for them to stop (although we hope
they will), not when they outweigh
him and he cries. He's calling out for mother.
Something has cracked (his collarbone,
his horn glasses). Perhaps he has drowned

in an inch lawn or he's asking when
this will end. The little savages who grope
toward age—it's lucky that they stay
so slight for years, lucky that we don't bother
to interrupt until they're grown,
each given his turn to be gagged and bound.

Copyright © 2010 Jehanne Dubrow All rights reserved
from The Journal
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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