Envy

Someone says, “Mine is better than yours.”
It’s that old schoolyard boast,
the anger instantaneously rumbling up,
separating two children playing to fierce corners.

There’s a quick heat in childhood, the heart beating to rage
so fast, with those hot, reddening cheeks, clenched fists,
the stink-eyes narrowed, every muscle hardening
with the overwhelming urge to lash out,
even if the power behind a fist may be slight at that age.

In our maturer years, really, that anger is hardly different.
Mano a mano may suffice, the blows harder with age,
but we’ve learned to utilize what’s at hand, strike fast
and leave the field, everything settled, a loser lying vanquished,
the victor headed home, whistling, yes, yours may have been better,
but no more so than a hoe, a scythe, incisors, the jawbone of an ass,
or whatever other convenient tools may stand by to decide,
well-utilized and sung of oh so fondly in my memory forever.

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