His mother is an echo in the tread of his soles,
her steps swallowed up by the forward march
of man up and carry on.
She sees her own father
in the square set shoulders,
spine now a rod
to be turned into a weapon
when sadness finally stews into anger.
He will tell people how he’s never hit a woman,
because that is the same as respect.
His mother raised him better
than to paint a girl’s skin with fists,
so he’ll call it love
when he uses words to do the same
where it’s invisible,
and call it consent
when he talks the ‘no’ away to a half yes.
When the glasshouse eventually does break,
he’ll pretend away the damage.
Not realizing that you can’t
until the last pane shatters.
Bravery mutates into desperation,
Nothing else seems to fit
when the world is framed that way.