Schoolyard Rules by Brian Rihlmann

Schoolyard Rules

I think it was fifth grade
when the school bully
found a wallet on the ground 
during recess and decided
he’d keep it

but one of the teachers 
discovered what was going on
and took it from him 
saying, No…no…
this doesn’t belong to you
we have to return it
to its rightful owner 

he didn’t like that
not one bit
he grabbed at the wallet
as she held it aloft
and a crowd gathered 
surrounding her

the next thing I remember was her
screaming as she was shoved
into a fence over and over 
by this mob 
of pint-sized savages

while I watched
from an outer circle

and later
we were pulled out of class
one by one 
into the hallway
and interrogated
about what we’d seen
and asked who was involved 
in this terrible thing

I can’t remember 
what I said…
but I already knew
well enough

to say I hadn’t really 
what I had

or else

Brian Rihlmann lives in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared in many magazines, including Chiron Review, The Main Street Rag, The American Journal Of Poetry, and New York Quarterly. He has authored three collections of poetry, most recently “A Screaming Place,” (2021) by Cajun Mutt Press. 

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