is an interesting word, we should talk about it more often but the mud from the playground, I know, is still on it, for a long time having been one of the main don’t-bes they used, as when I said my partner in peg counting was counting all wrong, in fact, I had to tell him, his way of counting was not only wrong but stupid, (this comment was taken very seriously). 

I know too it can be hard to remember why you in your now-sound body would want the word mean but waiting in line after some good years you’re with people, they laugh and when you ask what someone you know barely turns and says to you nothing.


Mean is an interesting word, we should say it more often but it still has I know mud from the schoolyard stuck to it, time when crying steps ran in a straight line, had a direction, knew where justice was sitting, and it was the same game every day and I don’t know who was more alone, if it was just one person and he chased after everyone or if there were many of us and we all chased the one person, soft false ground beneath our feet, winter spring summer fall. Young Jews South Asians and asthmatics, tell me—can you tell me—where the violence of the subway comes from, and what is it to be on the run.