How, then, does it start? As a piece of cake, perhaps.
Thin slice to begin with, nothing rude or impolite, then another
And another, until there’s no more left of him to bake or break

After hours of Goating in the pub, what little self-control you had
Collapsed like the dominoes he enjoys. His not looking for trouble,
You took it as your cue and chose to trouble him with it.

And is there one of you that takes the lead – the one always tipped to succeed?
In school and on the street, the thickness of his hair, the way it hangs….
Different days might have seen the man decorated, ’stead of ‘ringleader’ and ‘accused’.

Or nothing of the sort. Only time hanging heavy and chance presents itself
Like cookies cooling on a plate when no one else is looking,
And afterwards – pangs of regret for having taken too much.

So much the boy you beat nearly died – fractured eye socket,
Fractured spine, bleed on the brain. And did it begin with a question:
Why are you even standing there, inviting our disdain?