When you slapped me because I didn’t
know how to bowl properly
you looked sad. When you punched me
because I didn’t kick a ball
like a man you bundled your shirt,
threw it on the grass
with disgust on your face,
the smell of sweat
coaxed the air. You knew
the different ways to break me,
summer sauntered through
like the world was ending
and you were its master.
You marked my body
but the others couldn’t see the blisters
inside. They laughed and ran away, bored
as one by one the lights went out, only
two weeks before school starts again.
They saw the weakness you made, knew
to burn me whilst they kicked
mums and dads watched
while they watched
football games, the men held
back their wives, let them work it out
it’s what boys do, of course.
Christopher W. Clark (@chriswillclark) reads, writes, and teaches things. Their poems have featured in various publications including The Cadaverine and Ink, Sweat, & Tears. They have collaborated with The Royal Philharmonic Society and photographer Mick Frank among others. They are currently working on a chapbook and full-length novel dealing with the intersections of class and queerness.