chucking rocks at the wasps’ nest,
their gathered hum then sudden sting
at the nape of my neck. Oh, how I paid—
still pay—for the recklessness
of boys. Little Bretts. Little Jeffs.
Little knives to my breast.
How lucky they were to never
be held down, to never see
their voices crawl the air like fire!
How desperately I yearned to be them,
to storm the halls in macho gospel:
matching blue jackets, blood-filled
posture and made-you-flinch.
How different would I be,
how much bigger, if I had been
given room enough to be
a country's golden terror?
Copyright © 2020 by Rachel McKibbens. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 23, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.