weak bones and sleep-starved eyes

he made wishes on gunshots
and sent out empty prayers to an empty sky

and sometimes, while he slept
[a vicious, taunting, halfway-sort-of-not-really-asleep-at-all sleep]
his fists would clutch at air,
and his swollen strawberry lips would twist and
and his too-young, too-pale face would
grimace and scrunch
and when he cried out,
the babies in the next room would start crying too.

eventually the shadows under his eyes got
so big
that they swallowed him up
and his arms got scarred and broken from all the times
he’d checked to see if his heart was still beating

and he stopped having nightmares because he
stopped chasing sleep;
he spent his nights awake,
staring up at the empty sky,
tuning out the gunshots and keeping his prayers to himself.


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