216 • pearls around the neck
Author: Laurabeth Gill, a 15-year-old South African, 2012
Illustration: Tim Gallo
For those who abuse
Is the dull steel of crushing boots
Marching inexorably forward,
Trampling helpless dreams under
The unthinking drive to obey.
Feeding off the crowd
The bright splash of red
Dulling and condensing, it becomes far deadlier
A hard bullet lodged in the chest
Slowly poisoning the mind.
An all-consuming need
Enforcing the painful silent struggle uphill
Where trampling others under the feet is allowable
Acceptable, condone-able, even reasonable
Just to get to the top of the heap.