ernest

he stood 5 feet four inches

burst pimples scarred his face

from cheek to cheek the breadth

of him vast no less than

50 extra pounds settled into places

no child should carry weight

he did not speak

no superheroes or high scoring

athletes held court within him

his mind a perceived blank

guarded constantly by a disorganized

sentinel unwilling to meet a gaze

he moves through the courtyard unmarred

pebbles bounce off his back though

insults pierce ears too sensitive to sound

where shall we begin

numbers haunt initials ambush

his future undetermined though judged

advocacy falls on death ears

screaming into bureaucracy a

dance with waterfalls

they sing

he is black

he is poor

he is urban

he is impaired

redemption is taken off

the table like a bad bet

money thrust back into pockets

guarded black eyes tear drained

pour over books deciphering alphabet

devouring syntax determined

to not be left behind

cheerleading easy with a victor

so committed numbers cannot define

initials no longer the enemy

he speaks

i am more than numbers.

i.

am.

more.

and so we began

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