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When you answered my question

even though it broke

your tough-boy veneer

I broke too


I knew

the best I could do

was to let you believe

your veneer was only scatched


but I’d seen your sweetness

and ached for your shame

I’d certainly never want

to be twelve again


I’ve been that cruel sister

and the tender innocent

too, like you –

how I wish I could make your journey easier