The Boy in the Girls\’ Bathroom

Skin mottled with scars, re-opened and grown over.
Pink and purple stripes mangled the brown; if hate is a
forest fire, then he’s taken the heat and he is the tree.
Too young yet to reek of bourbon and sandalwood,

his smoke is axe. No, the smoke is expression, hanging,
looming overhead as he pulls the sleeves of his button up
down to cover the sounds of screams. Screams sound
like cigarettes put out on skin, like being seen as a her

but feeling like him. Screams taste like iron when you
realize it’s not breast milk you’ve been drinking, but blood.
And blood, well blood feels like fire when serial rejection
of expression is fire. Bruises crept up his neck but left

his face bare, like the moon in the shadows. If the sky was
the body of the moon, what made it so grim? Imagine your
arms and legs blackened by a universe so reckless it only
sees the rocks that wounded you and then calls them stars.

But the black body cracks and stipples the ebony plane with
resilience it’s created from within. And this is him.

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