He was a man

He was a man in that way that energy rises 

rust-red from the earth beneath his black toe-capped boots

A man to his palms and his knuckles and fingers

scarred by rivets he had caught and men’s heads he had broke

Real boys don’t cry he shouted as he cuffed me for crying

and boys hit first in the face no forgiveness

but as he lay helpless, clenched fists on the bedsheets

as the energy soaked down through the world he had conquered

as I finally knew what was his was now my world

as my face lost its colour remember he said 

what I’ve often told you that real boys don’t cry 

one last thing to remember

men do