The bully sauntered into my room,
in my dream,
and hit me in the face.

I woke up just before the blow found its mark
and remembered the crunch, the blood, the pain.
But they were less
- a mist, vague and passing -
than the cold that came from the anticipation of it,
than the sweat that came from the fear of it.

I cursed the quick actual blow.
I cursed more the slow, frequent memory of it.

* * *

Walking alone, I checked over my shoulder,
I scanned the crowds; I looked around corners.
Even with friends I looked, but quicker.
I waited,
my gut ready to knot in an instant.

I found my fists often balled,
grabbing my hatred and my loathing
and squeezing them like a chicken's neck.

My daydreams turned to much darker colors,
with violence and vengeance taking principal roles.

* * *

After a while the bully moved away, and
I fairly bubbled in my release.

Till I found that my joy
had a hole in its middle;
a hole I could look through and see the
unfinished circle,
the fear sliding almost out of view, but no farther.

Harry W. Yeatts Jr.