by what we least expect. I was naive
when the bullies came for me in the playground.
I did not check to keep within earshot of a teacher.
I must have wanted to be needed by them,
by anybody, and wanted for the bullies to be
honest with themselves about their needs.
They never were. I was equally under-prepared
for the lack of paid work, when I thought I needed
to be needed by a job for it to give me money.
Everyone said there should be jobs for all,
but it seemed that there were none for me.
It was too bad that what was needed from me
was for me to lose to them all, mostly not violently-
at least not with criminal violence-but lose
with sufficient vigour for all of them to pretend
to themselves that they would have accepted me
if I had tried harder. Now I am owned by another life,
one that against the odds has proved sustaining.
In spite of myself I am in a lasting relationship.