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Actions Speak Louder than Words This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Your words were like brass knuckles that hit
with the force of a bulldozer. You
didn't leave

bruises on my mind, you left welts. If you put
my head through a CAT scan you'd see marks

on my brain that resemble the ones your dad
left on your calves the time he took you
out back

and beat you with the hose after he caught us
smoking in the basement. I remember thinking

the smoke never entered my lungs; instead, it
wrapped around and tied them with a bow as if I

didn't have enough trouble breathing with his
hands grasping my throat. You told your

mother we played tackle football earlier
that day
and someone's cleats dug into your skin by accident.

Your words had the strength of gale winds whenever
you spoke but your pleads for him to cease his fists

weren't enough to save me from having
to fight for my
life in the back of an ambulance. He
always said

“Actions speak louder than words.” But I never heard
the sound of his hands forcing my head against the


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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