Admit it

a silver spoon cowboy
rode into town
and rounded us up
watched us huddle together
under a new symbol
a new slogan in pure white letters
glaring from a blood red background
(just like a stop sign)

but the message
seemed innocuous enough:
who doesn’t want to be great
after all?

but he knew
from the inside out
that we were darker
and more fearful
than we realized

the dangerous kind of fear
too deep in shadow
to see its own hand
in front of its face
and preferring it that way

he bet on what was behind
our poker faces
and again and again
he won

can we now admit it?
or don’t we have the balls?

we ran down this path
away from some
future beast
we do not know

and straight back
toward the lair
and the gaping jaws
of one we already escaped—

—of one we thought
we’d escaped…

Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada. He writes free verse poetry, and has been published in The Blue Nib, The American Journal of Poetry, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, and others. Read other articles by Brian.