So Tough

“It’s okay, I’m tough”        I’m stronger than they know

“It’s okay, I’m tough” I say,

And yet I’m so alone…

I stretch a slender smile wide across my o’erdrawn face

Parentheses and two small dots

To comfort and erase

The homesick pangs I’ve brought upon my curly long-haired head

The day I chose that I would join

The Lobo black and red.

“It’s okay, I’m tough” I lie to fam’ly, to friends,

As I ignore the shouts, the names—

Look forward to their ends

Words can’t hurt, they tell me, but I say it isn’t true

The words they shout bruise I say:

My heart is black and blue

But it’s okay, I tell them all, from half across the world,

It’s okay, don’t worry ‘bout

Your youngest baby girl.

I can handle cocky boys and homework overloads

I can handle getting lost

On foreign, unpaved roads

“I’m too strong to falter now!” I whisper through my gloom.

“It’s okay I’m tough” I say,

Crushed and broken, in my room.

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