You call us special snowflakes,
tell us to buck up, buttercup,
to move on and give up.
But all I hear is a bully pacing
the weedy field behind the school,
worried about whether he’ll eat that night
and who his mom will bring home.
His chaotic taunts hurt him
more than anyone else,
as he waits for someone to call him
wonderful and mean it,
as he wishes for cuddling,
as he hopes that someone will see
his mysterious, frosty edges,
his patterns known and unknown,
and deem them, with no more irony
than the desert’s late afternoon sun, special.
Vivian Wagner is an associate professor of English at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. Her work has appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Creative Nonfiction, The Ilanot Review, Silk Road Review, Eyedrum Periodically, and other publications. She's also the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington), and a poetry collection, The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books).