Scott Owens

Defining Wrong

So I’ve had this argument before
at 10 when I was told
I was being hit so I would understand,
at 13 when my friends tried
to beat into me
that the only thing worse than a nigger
was a nigger lover,
at 17 when my father said
if they didn’t want to be raped
they wouldn’t go into places like that,
last year when my mother’s new husband
told me god hates fags.
I don’t care what anyone’s god
believes is wrong.
I know what is wrong.
What causes harm is wrong.
What takes away freedom is wrong.
What makes another feel small is wrong.
And silence is wrong.
It’s easy to keep your mouth shut.
You keep your job that way.
You keep peace in the home.
It’s easy just to go along.
It’s easy, but it’s wrong.

Scott Owens' ninth book of poems, "For One Who Knows How to Own Land," is due out in March from Future Cycle Press. He edits Wild Goose Poetry Review

(author retains copyright)