Brave

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to stand beneath the eyes, flickering like
flames that don’t leave marks on skin
over your wrists and throat.
Brave, to wear those colors
even as ugly words and ugly
hardened eyes fall around you— brave,
to keep your head up, knowing
that when some of them pass,
nameless color boy, wide-eyed little boy,
they look at your thin shoulders
narrow hands big bright eyes
and see something fearful, something to be broken.
Brave, but you shouldn’t have to know
the meaning of bravery, of fear.
You are only a child.





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