I’M SORRY TO SAY THAT I DO REMEMBER

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Fifty-six years ago when I was four.

Yes, do the math, I am in my sixties.

I am old enough to know better, or

young enough to still have my faculties.

At four was I old enough to know best?

At fourteen was he only being a boy?

“Just look into this tiger’s eye,” he said,

Handing me the shiny round marble toy.

 

I can recall details, colors, touch, place.

Time of year I can only guess – Easter?

I can tell you there were others present,

But not about the looks upon their face.

 

Is it real, this tiger’s eye, I wondered?

Feeling pressure, I turned my gaze into

The eye of evil, harbinger of shame.

Years silenced until it happened again.

 

Then I spoke up, but no one seemed to care.

Forced once more to shut up, suit up, play nice.

Chin up. Get over it. Who said life’s fair?

I’ve dared to speak up and I’ve paid the price.

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