Poetry, Uncategorized, Writing

i knew a boy

i knew a boy
with calluses on his hands
from heavy work and drunken fights
from sweat drenched days and less than holy nights
(he told me he loved me as i wiped away blood, and it felt like remorse)

they sent him off to war, you see
i wondered if they’d come for me
they never did and he never wrote
and my life moved on in factory rote
(he told me he loved me before he left, and it felt like a eulogy)

i knew a boy
who kissed me ’til my lips were bruised
there was a scar neatly tucked between his ribs
and sinful certainty as his hands slid past my hips
(he told me he loved me in that moment, and it felt like a prayer)

he came back from the war, you see
i wondered what he’d think of me
his eyes were bruised from the inside out
and there were things he’d never talk about
(he didn’t tell me he loved me, his eyes darting away)

they made him a soldier when i knew him as a boy –
they made him a killer when i knew him as a lover –
he taught me to love and they taught him destroy –
he taught me his skin and they gave him memories that smother;
(he didn’t tell me he loved me, in fact, he didn’t say much at all)

i knew a boy
(i knew a boy)
he went away and came back a man
and i wonder what the cost of that was
what kind of scales can weigh a soul
and how heavy is my debt
for not following in his footsteps
(he didn’t tell me he loved me, and i wondered if this was his anger)

i knew a boy
and he knew me too
and i hope one day
when whimpered nightmares begin to fade
i’ll know him again
and he’ll know me too
and he’ll be a boy again
and we’ll wash the war away
in a tin bath, lukewarm water
toothpaste kisses, damp hair
until then –
(i’ll love him enough for the both of us
until the words don’t burn on his tongue any more.)

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