I dream of sharing safely
my thoughts, my fears, my self,
without the terror of being ganged up on
taken down and pummeled
with editing fists.
I know the power of the crowd,
the attraction of the target,
the death scent of ostracization.
“Kids will be kids,” you may say,
not wanting to interfere.
You were once a child.
Perhaps you smelled the bloodlust.
Perhaps you relieved yourself by
bruising the young spirit of another.
I don’t doubt you suffered yourself.
Too many years I made excuses
for your bad behavior.
My compassion forgave you because
your father was an alcoholic,
you didn’t have much money,
your grades weren’t as good as mine.
Of course, you were more popular.
I had to forgive if I wanted to survive.
Later, we became friends.
Isn’t that the way of children?