A dedication

I am always writing about warriors
Underdogs rising up brave
To face down hard times
Just like I am always writing about love

I wrote this one for you, kiddo
Because you and I are the kind of warriors
Who never get our stories told
In the storybooks they write for little boys
To teach them that the world
Just owes them everything
You and I know something about the kind of love
That clawed its way back up from a shallow grave
Meant to be a soul’s final resting place

You and I were born from the darkness
That the people who raised
Us and named us called love
Brought up battered but
Never as broken as you believed once

Out here where the horizon stretches into infinity
The road ahead fills the sky with possibility
I listen to your breathing steady
In the passenger seat
As miles pass by in the night
Push the pedal to the floor
To drive you fast enough and far enough
To outrun the ghosts that come
For you when the sun drops low
Below the horizon to the west

Breathe in breathe out
Push your panic through gritted teeth
Long enough to pull off the highway
In the middle of the desert to see
The majesty of a sky full of stars
Towering in its enormity above us
The moon rises ancient and yellow
I want you to fold up this moment
Put it in your pocket, to replay on
Days when life knocks you down

I polish my boots oxblood red
In a dingy New Mexico hotel room
After you finally surrender to rest
With Hope standing guard
Close my eyes and dream of grinding the face
Of every single person who ever hurt you
Into the 115 degree asphalt outside

Hate comes easy
Violence follows just as unrepentantly
Witnessing a pain as pure as this
I want to hunt down each
And every last maggot
That feasted the flesh from the bones
Of your youth and snap their
Fingers from their hands like brittle twigs

Breathe in. Breathe out.
Make it all the way home, where
The warm waves of the Atlantic
Rush ceaselessly over the sand
Wade in the water
Give thanks to the tiny victories
Every battle, hard fought and won
Every hell pushed through
That led you to this shore

I never felt as proud
As I felt watching you
Standing tall in the sun
Stretching out strong as bones
Brave against the memory
Of every nightmare never enough
To break you into pieces
Breath slow
While the waves crash
Let the bad dreams pass
As they always do.