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Surrounded by a pack of Golding’s naked little flies
Is how odd-man-out child must have felt from outraged cries.
Around a dozen children in the late nineteen-sixties;
No one wearing a stitch of clothing was not the oddity.

All we privileged white kids that belonged to the middle class
Were attending ISU’s summer school at Thomas Metcalf.
Weren’t there for remediation, our parents all had pull
And part of the curriculum was swimming in a pool.

Our weekly aquatic frolic in pool of Olympic size
Had led to unclothed gathering where small difference was spied.
We children all stripped naked as we pulled on swimming trunks
When one boy cried out in horror after spying other’s “junk.”

“Holy cow!” Jack declared, “Hey, guys, take a look at his dick!”
We all obliged dutifully and stared hard at boy’s stick.
“What’s wrong with you?” Jack rang out in a loud demanding voice;
Child who Jack did torment answered with dignity and poise.

“There’s not a thing that’s wrong with me, it’s you that has been cut.
All your foreskins have been removed but mine remains untouched.”
Confusion swirled all around, this boy’s words did not make sense,
How dare boy with deformity such lies try to dispense?

Uncircumcised and unrepentant boy gave us great details
That he declared most forcefully though his lies could not prevail.
We twelve normal children laughed at his deformity
And shook our heads in wonder over his tall-tale lying spree.

Teacher’s voice cried out to us and urged we flies to move along
Slipped into our swimsuits and filed out knowing boy was wrong.
I was secure in my little boy brain that kid’d been talking smack.
Child we called out ever after when changing turned his back.

I know not how many years passed before I understood
That tale the ostracized boy had spun was truth about our wood.
The odd man out had known the truth and declared it simply
We knew that he was in the wrong; proved by our majority.

The sun revolves around the Earth, it says so in the Bible:
If you write something that contradicts then you’re committing libel.
Facts we know to be basic and feel all others should accept
Can be unacknowledged burdens, great albatross around our necks.

“Everybody know it’s so,” makes a thing neither false nor true;
Acquiescence to majority’s not always best way to rule.
Some things that seem simple, things that every child knows,
Turns out to be further from the truth than any can suppose.

 

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