The young buck, at 16 years old,
Follows suit after I’ve shaken his father’s hand,
And introduces himself, arm outstretched
And prepared to put the vice-grip on me,
Chest puffed out like a silverback,
And his brow furled with a seriousness
Befitting the death of a beloved head of state
In wartime, no less.
As it turns out
Which I would know for myself an hour later―
The kid’s a teddy bear, doing his best
To pull off this learned behavior,
And not entirely certain why it’s necessary
In the first place.
Had I been one of the sort it appears
He was trying to impress,
It would have made me want to
Prove my superiority, rather than
To question it―the latter seeming to be
What the whole pufferfish act was designed to do.
Or maybe it was rather designed simply to assert
The if this is a tough crowd, he’ll fit in here, too.
But it was not.
And he fit in just fine
Once the dad was gone
And the tough-guy act was forgotten.
And who knows?
Maybe he’ll outgrow it altogether.