Grin and bear it,
Father told me,
as the blows fell.
When I did,
he said,
wipe that smile off your face
or I’ll do it for you.
Don’t cry,
or I’ll give you reason
to cry.
Be a man,
he told me.
Life’s not fair.

Since then I’ve learned
too well
that he was right,

though I’ve always wondered
why Father felt
he had to be
so much
like life.

(kz 2018)

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