Brian Eugenio Herrera and M.G. Switalski

Brian Eugenio Herrera
They Called Him
(Pen on paper)


M.G. Switalski


You didn’t breathe a word of it.
You were good at keeping secrets
(Your best friend, Julie Ann, had even taught you a handshake).
Dad never knew nothing,
Until the principal called.
You sat, rubbing the silky ear of your Golden Retriever
Between your thumb and forefinger,
Picking up words from your darkened room.
Excessive taunting, plays with dolls, skinned knees, pushed around.

It was only a matter of time.
Phone slammed down.
You knew what was coming.
“Dolls! They call you a sissy?!”
His voice reaches you before his belt.
Men don’t cry.