Ian was the toughest kid in school

wanted your lunch money

he got it

would trample through you

for any reason

I can still feel his fist on my nose



there was an air around him

said do not fuck with me

we were 10 maybe 11

& that meant a lot

to us little shits

with the attention span of a gnat

interested only in what came next

what was on tv


we hadn’t found girls



it was some lesson

on something

& the head teacher came in

Ian in tow

we all nudged each other

what had the monster done now?

she put a shoebox on the table

called us in two’s, threes

to go see

& in the box

was this beautiful dragonfly

tiger striped

iridescent wings

maybe six inches long

pinned on a bed of cotton wool

she told us how Ian had caught it

prepared it

found a shoe box

laid the dragonfly out on the cotton wool

& how she felt

we should all see this beautiful creature

she meant the dragonfly

but looking back

the creature on display was Ian

he changed that day from being a monster

to something else


we were all still scared of him

wanted your lunch money

he got it

but now he had another side

a rotten kid that knew beauty

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