Meryl Natchez

in praise of cheating

who hasn’t cheated a bit? slid the office pen
into the personal pocket, relished a piece of toast
not on the diet, or when you monitor your progress
shade the numbers just a fraction, and to cheat on your
partner makes the sex much hotter, everyone cheats on their 
taxes, cheat on the test, cheat at cards, cheat your friend, cheat 
on the lover that you’re cheating on your partner with, the batter 
uses steroids, the boxer takes a dive, the broker makes insider trades. 
as a child you first learn the thrill of it, the ability to fool is so grownup,
the deliciousness of risk, that you can put one over, that you have 
the power to deceive, balanced by the shame of getting caught, 
heat rising to your face, what contempt we have for Nixon, 
a man who cheated even at golf, you have to cheat to 
know that utterly slimy feeling, you underhanded,
deceitful, double-dealing wretch, you’ve brought
dishonor to your race. how could you?
how could you not?