• Vol. 04
  • Chapter 05

How to Assert Yourself

It’s all in the hand, you know,
fingers splayed, palm facing out,
an emphatic ‘no’.
You learned this at a weekend course
on how to have an exciting life.
A no to bullies and time wasters
to flaky friends and favours.
Just say ‘no’, no need to shout.
Watch your hand stretch to the front,
balance in the air as you speak,
and then you notice his bitten nails,
a tremor-tremble of his fingers.
It took you years,
took you by surprise, that courage,
your hand, not some stranger’s,
pushing back the coward.