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  • You know the kid
    The one who tugs your arm
    eager to tell his story
    bright and wide eyed when you look down
    sad when you turn away
    Who stands close and takes your arm
    Whose moods pass like sun and clouds

    Mr Ben
    Can you come see this?
    I knew that tone
    Too bright
    Too high
    Too this-is-really-no-big-deal to not be something

    He was waiting in room in the back of the nurse’s office
    7 years old
    Pants around his knees
    His grade school boney knees showing
    The welts striped the backs of his legs
    An inch and a half wide
    Darker near the ends
    Where they formed a little square
    Like a mini picture frame

    He said it hurt to sit down
    That’s why I brought him in, said the teacher
    He said there were more on his back and chest

    He was stealing and lied
    His father told me
    We tried everything
    Took away his toys
    His TV
    His games
    We had to nip it in the bud
    It wasn’t done in anger

    I met his level gaze
    Tried to look past the reserve
    And wondered
    What kind of love is this
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