Bullied, but not Victim

A kid gets known as
the class act for
with perfection,
gets called clumsy
and classmates sear
that adjective on his soul
like an unforgivable sin.

He does not see
the others with
scarred knees like him.
his kind are too
busy staring
hoping not to stumble,
too afraid to fail
to notice or worse,
be seen.

Time seems slow,
but passes as it
never forgets to do
and the boy grows
tall in character.
Repeated words
promise less pain
and he begins to
feel a shift in
the balance.

He stops paying
attention to the
sidewalk and stares
ahead for a change.
He’s stunned.

The same knuckleheads
try to crack the same jokes,
but loop around
their rotten smiles
and jovial rib jabs
in tight circles.
It’s dizzying and
he wants none of it,
none of them.
He owns his words,
even if they are
loose with theirs,
and walks on.

This boy reaches where
broken concrete ends
by muscle memory.
He does not look
as the grass softens
beneath each step -
he feels the difference,
a lessened rebound,
somehow lighter.

He does not turn back.


Rae of Chi Speak

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