We bully him on the playground,
because shoes on flesh
is a satisfying sound,
because they do
and if I leave out
tomorrow it’ll be me –
eating fists and sand,
because he has my name.
My face reddens tomato shameful
while I strain to hold him.
My friends punch and spit.
I’ve seen a horse with eyes like his –
—pools that glittered black on black,
—while he reared in concert with the whip.
Someone puts a jump rope on his neck,
they grab the ends, I turn and run.
Run away to forget his face,
God forgive me,
that melting, sad, on-fire face.