going soft

three boys abreast
 & three pints deep
(& me)
we talk about sensitivity

(they talk, i listen)

jokes thrown and feelings
 deflected
the tone is chill cool laid
 back
the running gag
is that these boys are soft
 and know it

   i remember 
standing between two boys
who fancied themselves
 poets
waxing lyrical
on their lack
of masculinity
 how they wielded words not weights
 how they lifted their minds
 how their love
of words of women
(they spoke, i listened)
made them nearly
 female

   i think
as i step slightly
 out
of step
of tonight's sparring soft boys
 how soft
the sound of silence is
 how soft is
my stomach
 how soft
boiled eggs spill
gold
 how truffles melt
on the tongue
snails in shells

 how men are called bits 
of rough

   i think
as these boys swing
their softness around and shout
 about it
of how stubble 
 coats my shins and their
 chins alike
of the inside of wrists
 how it is so hard
to stay 
 soft

   i wonder
 how these boys would look
if i peeled
 back 
their clothes
put my gentle fingers
to their tender lips
and softly whispered
we are all skin
 wrapped
around bone
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