Poems of the Week

From a Leningrad Playground: A Cautionary Tale

by Philip Kitcher

When Vlad was just a little lad,
he won each dirty fight.
He’d pinch your lunch and sucker punch,
and gouge, and squeeze, and bite.

The toys of all the smaller boys
could never be secured.
Long catalogs by underdogs
record what they endured.

One day a new boy came to play—
he didn’t even cheat!
There was no need—Vlad must concede
complete abject defeat.

Sad and ashamed, bad Vlad exclaimed:
“Your victory’s a fluke.
In time I shall avenge your crime—
someday I’ll own a nuke.”