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.


Published 20th July 2019


About Brian Rihlmann

Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada.  He writes free verse poetry, much of it on the confessional side.  He has been published in Blognostics, Red Eft Review, Spillwords, Synchronized Chaos, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and others.