That Time


You were six years old when
first tossed the ritual knife
implicitly told to
save yourself by
whatever means necessary.

That first time was messy
with bawling but afterwards
you would lie silently
to plunge the blade
back into the flaming wound.

Mother would stand you up
and use a sterile bandage
to cover your gut
say good dreams are
reserved for a well behaved boy.

The bloodied gauze marked you
a fallen child warrior
a keeper of the secret
easy pickings for packs
of heart-sick cannibals.

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