You couldn’t tell,
From the way he pushed his eyes down
From the way he bruised his heels on the rocks
From the way he flinched at her call,
But that boy was brave.
Brave to the core,
Brave at a hotter temperature than most–
Brave to the point of bursting
And brave to the edge of silence.

He knew–he thought he know–his braveness
Could bring him nothing but
A sharper pain a deeper wound
The kind that outlasts the rebirth of skin.
This skin was on loan to him
and he prized it for all it was worth.
Not much these days,
He was told.
Worth more than they thought,
He knew.
He didn’t say no when she told him to leave,
He didn’t cry out when he fell down the stairs
He didn’t stand up when he was called-
But that boy was brave.

You couldn’t tell, you couldn’t see,
But that boy was a furnace on hold.
When they told him of his worth–
The dirt on a worm
The salt in the ocean
The vinegar at best–
They begged him to agree
To apply this to himself so they could save breath.

But that boy–
That one over there–
The heat of his fire and the flames at his core
Obliterated their words at the entrance.
He refused to give them residence
On his volcanic island.

He knew it was precious,
His beating thudding heart
And the skin that blanketed like silk on his bones.
Even though he didn’t speak
Or stand up
Or cry out–
That boy believed in himself.
And the was what made
That boy there so brave.


The reader brings his or her own experience to the poem and creates meaning. Here is my experience.

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