You said you could fight,
but your hair was long and your chest bruised, ribs broken,
crushed under the weight of a body that didn't fit,
you've started bleeding already
and they treat you like a joke, because your lungs are collapsed in and your hands shake when you move and when you make fists you can feel your weakness crawling under your skin,
it's not right not right the furthest thing from right.
He told you that he wondered if you were better being put to use as some tactician-sort,
as you watch him fighting like he's being doused in kerosene,
hands and blood and flesh and sinew and muscle all moving,
none of it breasts, none of it soft, everything twitching and tense and steel and bone.
But you cave in and you're more marrow than solid, you know he meant well, the right tool for the right job,
and even though the part of your brain that thinks can agree that he's right,
you know in your chest and lungs and bruises and everything that makes you not like him that the true strength you hold is right here,
settled into the cavity between each rib,
hidden within the broken breath,
the fact that you are not like other boys, and he takes hits and bleeds from his skin and feels crushed,
but you bleed too and you are crushed all over and each step is a blow to the torso,
and you're still standing, you speak softly
and carry your insecurities with you nestled between your chest and your bandages,
you are not a hero but you won't die in vain..