A bullied runt accustomed to abuse
at the hands of cruel classmates,
He deflects attacks, protects his soft heart,
with the armor of “This is boring” and “I don’t care.”
There are no thickets, no brush piles
where he can take refuge.
He hides behind the hair that falls over his face,
inside the piping treble of his voice,
beneath the pile of unfinished work and low expectations.
He scurries away,
Scratching the surface of what life has for him.
I offer my hand, but with weak eyes
He only senses another threat to his survival,
Ducks his head lower,
collapses in along the midline
as though he could pull his left and right shoulders together
or curl into a protective ball.
by Jennifer Leung © 2011
Original blog post: “Armadillos“