The tenderness of friends

Nobody knows tenderness

like a man to whom it is a stranger.

He knows what he has never felt,

a feeling that eludes him

like the words that unbutton his silence,

the struggle to shed his mind in front of those

who misunderstand him from a far city

founded by the sages of indifference.

The tendrils of his anguish, threaded

by a refusal to play the gallery’s tunes,

bear sweetened fruits on a soil turned

to the blues of animus, a fierceness that roars.

A gentle mystery that spirals from friends

who bleed reds and roses like festering wounds

on the leg of a ghost. The plinths of an agony

for him who knows tenderness like the back of some

roughened palms, for him misbegotten

by the affections of friendly fires.

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