How We Teach Them

Courtesy of Flickr/Sam Klein.

in a café I watch a boy
maybe five years old

hit his sister again and again
till his mom gives him a phone

on which to watch videos of boys
shooting Nerf guns and when the waitress

approaches he looks up at her
and says You’re beautiful

and then looks toward his mother and says
That was polite and the two women

make approving noises and give him
waffles and he begins to lick the syrup

from the plate with his tongue