Run, Boy, Run
Scratching quill along parchment, etching words into time. Only these words mean nothing. Teacher expects this done tonight, twenty pages to go. Bearded man, a kind face that you tell you’d rather be reading Twain. Don’t like politics. Smiles and laughs, “Run, boy, run your tired heart into the ground.”
Brother is strong. Upright and proper. He tells you to do, you’re expected to. Proper boys obey. He knows this.
They say he’s next, that he’s strong. A leader. How his sibling adores. You tell bearded man you cannot let him. You cannot swear to him, though the day draws near. Kind face comes close. Says “Run, boy, run.”
Trade inky scribbles for barking hounds. Even time in prison is freer than before. Hide books in the dry river bed. Buried in a sack. Steal time there. Learn silence, fake a smile, trade your pay for parchment.