“The Whole Point of the Game” By Brian Rihlmann




the headline of the article
said something about
dodgeball being dehumanizing
he ridiculed it, of course
this “friend” of mine
said we’re turning
our kids into a bunch of pussies
blah, blah, blah
and though I didn’t read it
it brought back memories
of those rainy days
in Junior High
when I last played the game…

how some poor kid
smaller or weaker
or fatter or bookish
was always singled out
while we—
like little savages out of Golding—
all pegged him at once
usually aiming for the face
a bloody nose
or broken glasses
was glorious
and celebrated with
high fives and riotous laughter

I’m sure
for the rest of the day
those kids sat in class
with swollen, bee-stung faces
and pondered the sin
of being smaller
or weaker
or fatter
or bookish

and did this toughen them up
and help them become
happy and well adjusted adults?

I could ask
but it’s the damndest thing…
we haven’t kept in touch.

About the Author: Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry…for folks. He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.
More By Brian Rihlmann:
Image Credit: Lewis W. Hine “The Dumps Turned Into A Children’s Play Ground.” (1909) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

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