Art by Patrick Driscoll

By Jude Casimir


you taught me to be a fighter,

to readily stand up against whatever,

plant my feet, dodge, throw punches,

it’s all in the wrist, all in the twist

but you omitted so much

        you didn’t tell me i had the right to not fight all the time,

        didn’t tell me i had the right to stop,

              to take a breath,

              to assess the situation,

              then decide

                  most of all, though,

                  you didn’t tell me you were one of them,

                  didn’t tell me i’d have to bareknuckle grapple with you,

                  with your violations as well,

                  too many to get straight

imagine my surprise

imagine your surprise

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