False Evidence Appearing Real

You don’t scare me, she said
And the deadness in her eyes confirmed the bold statement and he realized she wasn’t trying to sound tough
Or bluff
Or puff up her chest like a hollow bird trying to look bigger
To mate or fight or whatever it is that compels us to inflate ourselves physically, literally, verbally mentally
Like this string of well-researched vocabulary will impair your ability to retort, to one up, like it’s just one by one
Squeaking by, up this empty race, this winless competition
We somehow still try to win
And when she said she was not scared
Of him, he felt his chest swell, his face get hot, his throat choke his words escape
But he couldn’t say he wasn’t scared of her either

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