My original son was born
Original sin stained and
At a hospital called Grace
And middle-named
Finger and heel
Pricked with needles
Smacked along the back
And told to cry

For the next ten years
He’d be told
Over and over
To stifle the tears
Harness the rage
Take control of emotions
With grace
I relearned my own
Was offered names for
Was rebirthed into
A way of becoming
And proud
A weeping grace

Ten years of
Telling my brother
His love was unequal
To the contemptuous
Codependent love
I clung to
While he sought safety
In the arms of boys who promised
A grace in the midnight
Weeping for family
Hoping for change

Man up
We thought
But we were wrong
Strength is in the breaking
Tears rolling
Hands shaking
Lips open enough to
Draw a breathe from
Another’s lungs

This love smacked me
Along the back
And taught me to cry