Can I Sit with You?

Dodging Bullet
April 14, 2008, 8:00 am
Filed under: bully | Tags: , ,

by Laura Eleanor Holloway
Age at the time: somewhere between 6 and 9

Everyone just called her Bullet.

Blond hair cut like a boys –- rumor was she had no mother,
Which seemed to explain the fact that her favorite toy was a hammer.
And not some hollow yellow plastic PlaySkool job that squeaked as you hit plastic pegs. No,
Bullet’s hammer was the real deal,
Straight from Heckinger’s –- “the world’s most unusual lumberyard.”

That day, the six swings were full of hostages:
Twelve legs brown with dirt and sun,
Twelve tender palms freckled with stinging rusty equal signs,
Twelve open-toed shoes dragging despondent trails in the soft dry dust as
Bullet made the rounds:

“Do you like me?”
Her hammer poised menacingly above timid knees,
There was only one way to answer the question.

Occasionally, as she moved down the line,
Someone would make a break for it and
Bullet, hammer-wielding Thor-ling,
Would chase them back to the swing set
And ask again:

“Do you like me?”
“Yes, Bullet.”

I had a lot of time to think
While the other five children were lying to Bullet.
Didn’t her father see from the window what his daughter was doing?
Why didn’t he stop her?
Take away that hammer?

“Do you like me?”
“Yes, Bullet.”

As she got a few children away, I whispered to Kathy:
“The only way we’re gonna get to leave is if someone tells her no.”
Kathy’s eyes grew wide in horror:
“But… she’ll hit you!”
“I know. Shhh.”

“Do you like me?”


4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Fabulous work. The imagery is so webbed into the reader’s emotional connection- Lines like: “Twelve open-toed shoes dragging despondent trails in the soft dry dust ” and “hammer-wielding Thor-ling” simply make this poem. Wonderful!

Comment by Lorraine

The first striking thing about this poem is the ‘play’ in the title! I thought it was a typo – silly me! This poem is so accessible…I remember the smell of the rust from the chains
and the dust collected in the seams of the shoes. What a pleasure to read this well-constructed wonderful poem!! It brought back such memories.

Comment by Diana

This poem made me part of that world again. I remembered girls like Bullet. I was not one of them. I might have wondered, did kids like me? But I would have sat on the swing, wishing I had the courage of Bullet. This poem brings it all back.

Comment by Karen

Bullet reminds me of this one girl in my school. I never stood up to her though. Thank you for sharing.

Comment by Valerie

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