the power of words

March 20, 2018
By Anonymous

they’re words that you’ve heard from the day that you graduated
from ignorance to the forced half-maturity of middle school
you learned to be flippant, because
if you’re flippant to them then maybe they’ll shut up, or maybe
they won’t but sarcasm is better than angry tears
and they were never directed at you, not really, because
you knew better than that
better than to expose yourself in the way
that middle school boys jump at the chance to gawk at
but the friends you found
from the very first year, the ones who
you felt a mysteriously close kinship too,
and you didn’t know why yet,
but you would;
those friends, no more deserving than you,
just a little less subtle,
they took it all,
every word out of every foul mouth,
it was to them.
but just because something isn’t directed at you doesn’t mean it won’t hurt,
and the words pierced the air like knives
seared themselves like hot coals into the back of your mind
where you’d repeat them to yourself, unable to stop
because you couldn’t stop thinking about how someone
could say something like that
and the pain would ease, for a while
until high school, when you heard things shouted in the hallway
on an almost daily basis
and the same middle school boys
sat within earshot of you in the cafeteria, and every foul word they said
froze your body like ice, a wave of force through your body
a linguistic heart attack that never went away

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