Seeing Red

The first time I knew I could kill

was after school in my

grammar school blazer—

bright blue, red rag

in the roughest part of my

rough town where it was a

personal insult to want

to escape.

 

Each night I was chased by

some gang or another, but

I could outrun them, my heart

keeping time with my legs,

each day distilling that

drip drip of fear, resentment and

hate until it was a

pure vial of vitriol.

 

So there’s that day when one boy

outruns his friends but

they’ve given up and

he’s alone and God

he was surprised when I turned and

grabbed his throat, for

I was fit and strong and

he was not.

 

I raised my fist and watched him cower

all mouth and no trousers suddenly

and my heart was pounding

do it do it do it do it do it

and I wanted to I wanted to so bad

I could taste his pasty blood

bursting from his ratty face on my

metronomic knuckles.

 

Instead I dropped him, ran for home,

kept running, ran to Championships,

ran beyond the tape, keep running away from

the first time I knew I could kill.

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