Painful Smiles

It hurts to smile.

It feels like his lips are
A block of marble,
Chiseled out of his features, and
Every trembling upwards turn of them
Creates painful, imaginary cracks.

He can sob until it hurts,
Scream until the air is
Ripped from his lungs.

Feel so numb it resonates in his core -
But he can’t stop smiling.

He has to smile to say he still has hope,
Even when the world turns dark
And everything is tilted on its axis.

He has to smile to say that he’s
Stronger than he looks, because he always
Has to be strong.

He has to smile,
To curve his lips infectiously,
So everyone else will see it and
Believe everything’s alright.

Nothing’s alright.
But they don’t know that.

They can’t.

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