Bystander

I was just a bystander.

It wasn't me who noticed
the pale, gawky boy
walking down the hall
with his pants too high,
his hair too neat.

I was just a bystander.

It wasn't me who shoved him
against the washed-out locker
so hard that his nose began
to bleed, gushing all his hopes and dreams.

I was just a bystander.

It wasn't me who brought
punch after punch
to his crippled body,
ignoring his whimpers of pain;
it wasn't me who laughed
when he begged for them
to stop, his tiny voice
pleading for mercy, and they
just kept punching.

I was just a bystander.

It wasn't me who pulled the
vicious jocks off of him;
it wasn't me who told them to
go to class, and that they were
pathetic to pick a fight
in which there was five of them
and one of him.

I was just a bystander.

It wasn't me who got the nurse,
wasn't me who helped him up,
wasn't me who told him
it would all be alright.

But it was me who walked away with everybody else
when his body, covered in blood and bruises,
collapsed on the tile floor.
What else could I have done?
I was only a bystander.





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