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By Jordan Mendoza

Everybody knows his story,

The whispers in the hallways

About how hard his father fought

Until the painful end-

And left that boy to be the man.


Fatherless: yet grief doesn’t keep him from school.

No more hugs from friends,

No more free homework passes,

No more sympathy:

He is a strong man, and he moves on.


How thin he looks

How strained his smile

How quiet, how fearful

I watch him

This boy- no, this man.


I just want to take his hand

I just want to help him.

If only he would let me in.

Around me, he can cry-

Cry as loudly as he wants

Because he doesn’t have to pretend.


If he let me,

I could show him how to smile again

Rest his head on my sturdy shoulder,

And I would let him know

That he doesn’t always have to be so strong.


All I have to do is reach out to him

All I have to do is try.

A word, an invitation:

A smile.

I can mend him.

Yet, as I watch him

From across the hallway,


I’m the one who isn’t strong enough.

1 comment on “Strength

  1. Pingback: Poetry Contest Winners! |

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