Never a Child

By: Zoë Christianson

A class clown attempted murder today.

A mother’s little boy,

a child’s best friend,

a teacher’s beloved terror,

stood over the monster who raised his freckly faced son

like the animal he’d become,

clutching a knife.

The only story told

was of a victim,

motionless and bleeding on the ground,

glaring up at his son.

But no one’s ever bothered themselves with the story

of the boy

who was as much as killed by circumstance.

Killer used to sit by me in art class.

He used to joke about the way his mother left him home on friday

nights with a cheap video game to keep him company.

Next time he saw her, she was rarely alone.

He took in stride the way his villain of a father

whistled at

girls six years his senior.

He saved his best friend’s life once,

one day on the playground.

Only killer knew the telltale signs of the poor boy’s asthma.

Only killer knew where to find his inhaler.

No one looks at mug shots of a brute

who almost killed his own father

and wonders

if he was someone’s best friend,

someone’s love,

someone’s baby.

But he never had a friend to share the disturbing facts of his

life with.

No friend was ever burdened with the reality of his home


with his father’s belt and rage.

No one ever wondered

why he didn’t know how to love.

No one ever cared

that he had no one in the world to tell him

that the way he treated all of us was wrong.

Killer was not born

He was made

by the very “victim” pitied through every source.

It doesn’t matter, they argue.

Why should it matter?

He’s someone else’s responsibility.

I was taking a test

for AP class

while the boy who came from the very

same place that I did

got arrested for fighting his abuser.

By next week, the boy who could make

anything exciting, could make a

statue smile

will be in jail.

And the rest of us will continue living

our lives with nothing but cold pity

for the boy we insist was never

one of us.