Don’t tell me your story;
it’s written in shadows
gripping your face, and
the way you twist the trash
bag of everything you
own around your wrist.
15-years-old, but I see
just a boy, shivering in
short sleeves. They took
your sweatshirt away
when you tried to hang yourself
with it, before you flung
yourself out a second story
window. he’s okay, they said,
but he’s not okay. I see his face.
I know broken, and he looks
down at the floor. I have
the file that says no one
wants to claim him, they’ve
all given up. He’s the state’s
child now, and the state can’t
hold your hand. The file knows
secrets he tries to keep, about
abuse and neglect that led him here.
He glances up, and I catch his eye –
yes, I see you. I smile, a little, you’re
safe for tonight. I sit down and he breathes
this day he needs to leave behind.
I know…but there is paperwork to be
done. We need history, diagnosis, all
the information required. This boy,
my patient, is tired in so many ways.
It’s past midnight before he’s processed
and admitted. He’s so weary, sleep is
welcome. But as I walk away, I wonder
if he thought – no one asked me why.